Cleveland judge Pinky Carr set to be suspended for two years for ‘unprecedented’ string of misconduct, state disciplinary lawyers say



CLEVELAND, Ohio – State disciplinary attorneys have recommended Cleveland City Judge Pinkey Carr serve a two-year suspension after an investigation charged the judge with “unprecedented” misconduct.

Lawyers for the Ohio Disciplinary Council, a branch of the Ohio Supreme Court that investigates attorneys’ malpractice, recommended the suspension in a filing Friday with the state Professional Conduct Board following of a two-day hearing.

Carr is accused of issuing arrest warrants against people who failed to show up to his court despite the court being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, among a myriad of other issues.

Carr “does not have the requisite judicial temperament to function as a lawyer,” wrote disciplinary lawyers Joseph Caligiuri and Michelle Hall. “And his ruthless dishonesty casts serious doubt on his ability to serve in a profession founded on the principles of truth and integrity. The gravity and extent of the Respondent’s judicial misconduct is unprecedented in Ohio.

The board will make a recommendation to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ultimately decides how to punish lawyers or judges for malpractice.

Carr’s attorney Nicholas Froning argued in a filing Friday that Carr should receive a two-year suspension, which means she would not be suspended unless she violates conditions set by the Supreme Court. , including continued mental health treatment and no other misconduct.

Froning wrote that Carr suffered from a mood disorder due to several factors, including untreated sleep apnea and anxiety disorder. She is now receiving treatment and has made significant progress, Froning wrote.

He argued that she had not had any prior discipline in 27 years as a lawyer and nearly a decade as a judge. Fifty-seven people, including court staff and lawyers, wrote letters praising Carr and sent them to the board.

“Judge Carr engaged in the misconduct while suffering from undiagnosed physical and mental health issues that contributed to her actions and, once diagnosed by a qualified mental health care provider, she is committed and continues to engage in a sustained and effective treatment to which it is committed. , has caused her therapist to believe that she can currently perform her duties competently and ethically, ”Froning wrote.

Carr during a two-day hearing before the board of directors stipulated to commit the misconduct, according to the records.

The disciplinary lawyer opened an investigation into Carr after Plain Dealer published an article on Carr issuing arrest warrants for people who did not appear in court, despite the court being closed for charges. in-person hearings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carr then lied in interviews with a WJW-TV reporter and administrative judge Michelle Earley about the issuance of the warrants, according to disciplinary records.

The investigation resulted in a 118-page complaint which, among other things, revealed that Carr had illegally issued arrest warrants since 2017 in an attempt to charge people fines and costs to generate revenue for the court.

Carr also once sentenced a woman to 15 days in jail for rolling her eyes and another man to 60 days in jail for an offense that did not merit jail time, the filing said. The disciplinary attorney also wrote that he found a daily tendency for Carr to make false entries in her journal, improper plea negotiations, inappropriately speaking to only one side during a case. , making “arbitrary” decisions and rudely treating staff, lawyers and defendants.

“Meanwhile, the Respondent ran her courtroom more like a circus than a respected courtroom, presiding over cases regardless of the law, due process, judicial impartiality or professionalism, ”wrote Caligiuri and Hall.

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