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Ohio Supreme Court suspends Cleveland Judge Pinkey Carr indefinitely


The Ohio Supreme Court suspended indefinitely Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr Tuesday.

Carr was found to have violated court rules dozens of times going back to 2019, and held court hearings and issued warrants in the early days of COVID-19, despite an order from Cleveland Municipal Court Administrative Judge Michelle Earley to suspend hearings.

The Board of Professional Conduct, which investigates misconduct by attorneys and judges in Ohio, described Carr as running her courtroom more like “a game show host” than a judge.

The board wrote that Carr “ruled her courtroom in a reckless and cavalier manner, unconstrained by the law or the court’s rules, without any measure of probity or even common courtesy.”

The board recommended a two-year suspension from the bench and the practice of law. Justices on the Supreme Court overruled that recommendation and handed down an indefinite suspension.

Gov. Mike DeWine will appoint a replacement to take Carr’s seat.

Carr was first elected in 2012, after serving 13 years as an assistant prosecutor for Cuyahoga County.

In her defense, Carr pointed to a 2021 diagnosis of anxiety and depression. She told the court she has been in therapy and asked for a 2 year suspension, with the possibility of only serving 6 months if she followed her therapy plan.

The investigation into Carr’s misconduct began in response to reporting on hearings held in her courtroom in March 2020. Carr continued to hold hearings on traffic tickets and misdemeanor offenses and issued warrants for people who did not appear after Administrative Judge Michelle Earley postponed court proceedings in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel also found dozens of other offenses, going back to 2019, where Carr would accept plea deals or find a defendant unable to pay fines and fees without following the proper procedure.

It’s unclear how long it will be before Carr can apply to have her law license reinstated.

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