Judge defies order to delay hearings, denies issuing warrants for no-shows

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Judge Pinkey Carr

Judge Pinkey Carr. Photo from Cleveland Municipal Court.

A Cleveland municipal judge held hearings for all defendants this week, despite a court order to delay hearings for those who are not in jail in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to Cleveland.com, Judge Pinkey Carr held hearings and issued arrest warrants for no-shows who followed advice on the court’s website to stay home.

Carr denied issuing any warrants in an interview with Fox 8.

“Not everyone watches the news, and I wanted to be here and have the hearings for those that showed up,” Carr told the broadcast station on Wednesday. “If they had a hearing and did not show up, I just marked they didn’t come. I did not issue any warrants.”

Carr told Fox 8 that she was waiving fines and costs for people who came to her court, which is not uncommon for her to do.

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association CEO Rebecca Ruppert McMahon issued a statement on Tuesday that appeared to refer to Carr’s actions.

The bar association is “greatly concerned by the action of any judge that keeps his or her court open for nonessential matters during this time of national emergency,” said the statement provided to Cleveland.com.

“This is not about judicial independence,” McMahon said. “This is about putting the lives of plaintiffs, defendants, attorneys, police officers and courtroom employees in jeopardy, as well the lives of their families and friends.”

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