Thursday, December 16, 2021
A 58 page report of the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct recommends the two-year suspension without pay of a Cleveland Municipal Court judge who had agreed to "virtually all" of the allegations and had submitted "lengthy stipulations of both fact and rule violations" brought against her.
Findings of misconduct include violations of coronavirus protocols and that she "arbitrarily imposed or waived fines for ludicrous reasons and then created false journal entries to conceal her actions."
The report describes "four examples out of 34 incidents...In each of the 34 incidents [the judge] engaged in similar behavior ,i.e. inappropriate humor, frivolous and often demeaning dialogue with defendants, the arbitrary imposition or waiver of penalties and the creation of false journal entries."
State disciplinary attorneys recommended that Cleveland Municipal Judge Pinkey Carr serve a two-year suspension after an investigation accused the judge of committing an “unprecedented” amount of misconduct.
Attorneys for the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel, an arm of the Ohio Supreme Court that investigates attorney misconduct, recommended the suspension in a Friday filing with the state’s Board of Professional Conduct following a two-day hearing.
Carr is accused of issuing arrest warrants to people who didn’t show up to her court despite the court being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, among a myriad of other issues.
Carr “lacks the judicial temperament required to function as a jurist,” disciplinary counsel attorneys Joseph Caligiuri and Michelle Hall wrote. “And her callous dishonesty casts serious doubt on her ability to serve in a profession grounded on the principles of truth and integrity. The severity and scope of respondent’s judicial misconduct are unprecedented in Ohio.”
The board will make a recommendation to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ultimately makes decisions on how to punish attorneys or judges for misconduct.
Carr’s attorney Nicholas Froning argued in a Friday filing that Carr should receive a stayed two-year suspension, meaning she wouldn’t be suspended unless she violated terms set by the supreme court, including continued mental health treatment and no further misconduct
Froning wrote that Carr suffered from a mood disorder due to several factors, including untreated sleep apnea, and an anxiety disorder. She is now receiving treatment and has made significant strides, Froning wrote.
He argued that she had no prior discipline in 27 years as an attorney and nearly a decade as a judge. Fifty-seven people, including court staff and attorneys, wrote letters praising Carr and sent them to the board.
Carr later lied in interviews a reporter for WJW-TV and Administrative Judge Michelle Earley about issuing the warrants, the disciplinary records said.