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Cleveland Judge Retires in Disciplinary Plea Bargain

December 23, 2015 | Written by Dan Margolis

In a criminal trial, the judge is supposed to be impartial, both in how he or she interprets the law and in his or her behavior. An unprofessional or unethical judge can deprive the defendant of his or her constitutional rights, making a mockery of the judicial process and possibly leading to an unjust conviction.

A notorious Cleveland Municipal Court judge has agreed to give up her job and never seek reelection, ending a lengthy investigation and disciplinary process against her. The case against her began back in 2013, when the state Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel issued a complaint against her. It would have continued well into 2016, due to the nature of the trial, which is in session only intermittently.

Among the accusations against Judge Angela Stokes was that she mistreated defendants in her courtroom, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. For instance, Stokes would regularly have defendants locked up in holding cells for courtroom infractions as minor as whispering. She would frequently yell at defendants and attorneys, and her courtroom was inefficient, forcing all parties involved to stay longer than they likely needed to.

Despite regular poor ratings from bar associations and newspapers, voters re-elected Stokes to the bench three times after she first was elected in 1995.

The agreement ends the disciplinary proceeding against Stokes. Her defense attorney attempted to paint her agreeing not to be judge anymore in a positive light. He said that his client will regain her suspended law license and take up private practice.

In the courtroom, the only person on your side may be your Cleveland criminal defense attorney, which is why it is important to find the right one if you are arrested and charged with a crime.

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