Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Alleged Violation Of Virus Shutdown Order Draws Judicial Misconduct Charges

The Ohio Disciplinary Counsel has filed charges against a judge who held hearings in contravention of the coronavirus rescheduling order

Respondent received the order on Friday, March 13, 2020; however, she failed to abide by its terms.

The proceedings held in the following week are recounted at length

That evening, published an article accusing respondent of issuing arrest warrants for non-jail defendants who did not appear on March 16th and March 17th, despite the administrative judge’s order rescheduling such cases. The article, “Cleveland judge flouts court’s postponements amid coronavirus pandemic, issues warrants for no-shows,” also appeared on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer the following morning.

Proceedings continued on the next day.

After recessing court, respondent agreed to an interview with Fox 8 News’s reporter, Peggy Gallek.


During the interview, respondent falsely asserted that she had not issued any arrest warrants the previous two days.

The Ohio Supreme Court had disqualified the judge in a March 25 order

Regardless of her intentions, by continuing to hear cases after issuance of the municipal court’s administrative order, Judge Carr caused confusion and sent mixed messages to the public at a time when clarity and uniform application of the administrative order were necessary. Indeed, the judge may have incentivized parties to appear for their cases if they knew she was continuing to hold hearings, defeating the purpose of the administrative order. In addition, Judge Carr has failed to sufficiently respond to the allegation that she arbitrarily issued warrants authorizing the arrest of some defendants who failed to appear for their originally scheduled hearings, despite the rescheduling of those matters. If the allegation is true, her actions eroded the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and created at least the appearance of bias.

...the affidavit of disqualification is granted in part and denied in part. Judge Carr is disqualified from presiding over hearings in nonjail criminal and traffic cases during the pendency of the Cleveland Municipal Court’s March 13, 2020 administrative order or any orders extending the time frame of the original order. Mr. Stanton’s request for a blanket order disqualifying Judge Carr from all criminal and traffic cases is denied. Mr. Stanton’s emergency motion is denied as moot.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process, Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink


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