Legal Ethics

Disciplinary counsel calls for mental exam of sitting municipal judge

A controversial municipal court judge in Cleveland should be examined to see if she is “suffering from a mental illness that substantially impairs her ability to perform her duties as a judicial officer,” recommends a report by a special counsel for the state supreme court’s office of disciplinary counsel.

The 49-page report (PDF) was made public by WOIO. It says Judge Angela Stokes has trouble managing her docket in a timely manner; treats employees unreasonably; and is hard on both attorneys and parties. For example, she prohibits lawyers from asking questions about procedure and has ejected and even jailed parties for infractions such as whispering, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The report says Stokes imposes rules on bailiffs that make it impossible for them to do their jobs, such as forbidding them to answer questions from parties or take action against unruly individuals without her permission, then publicly humiliates them for disorder in the courtroom.

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