Cleveland judge barred from hearing criminal cases due to alleged abuses, yet permitted to hear civil cases

Cleveland.com
Mar. 17, 2014

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes -- who's been under investigation for allegations that she abused court staff, lawyers and defendants -- will no longer hear criminal cases beginning Monday.

The municipal court's administrative judge, Ronald Adrine, made the decision Friday, according to court papers. The move follows continuing complaints about Stokes' behavior and a dramatic decision by the Cuyahoga County Public Defender's to seek a motion to transfer cases -- and its lawyers -- from her courtroom. The public defender's municipal division represents indigent clients charged with such things as petty theft, assault, DUI, domestic violence and driving under suspension.

Adrine will handle Stokes' current cases (visiting Judge Mabel Jasper will help with the case load next week). Future criminal cases that would have normally been assigned to Stokes will be divided among the court's 11 other judges who handle similar dockets. These cases will boost each judge's workload by about 8 percent.

Stokes will continue to be assigned civil cases, which include small claims, and she will continue to review civil cases handled by magistrates. Civil cases represent only a small fraction of a municipal court judge's docket.

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