Judge Pinkey S. Carr, a Democrat who has served on the Cleveland Municipal Court bench for almost a decade, was removed from her position on Tuesday after the Ohio Supreme Court found that she had committed more than 100 acts of misconduct, Cleveland reported.
Pinkey Carr was removed from the bench and had her law license suspended for committing “unprecedented” levels of misconduct, according to the justices.
The misconduct includes falsifying court documents, disrespectful treatment, lies, and wearing inappropriate clothes in court, such as “spandex shorts” and tank tops, sending someone to jail for rolling their eyes, and demonstrating her “abuse” of power.
The justices voted 5-2 to indefinitely suspend Carr’s law license and to immediately “cease and desist” practicing law.
She will also be suspended from judicial office without pay.
“Carr’s unprecedented misconduct involved more than 100 stipulated incidents that occurred over a period of approximately two years and encompassed repeated acts of dishonesty; the blatant and systematic disregard of due process, the law, court orders, and local rules; the disrespectful treatment of court staff and litigants; and the abuse of capias warrants and the court’s contempt power,” the Supreme Court opinion said. “That misconduct warrants an indefinite suspension from the practice of law.”
Carr stated that her unethical behavior was the result of menopause and sleep apnea caused by a generalized anxiety illness.
According to the court’s opinion, Carr has been indefinitely suspended from practicing law in Ohio and suspended from judicial office without pay while she is suspended. In order to vacate the suspension and be reinstated, the court said Carr will be required to submit a report from a qualified healthcare professional stating that she is “able to return to the competent, ethical and professional practice of law.”
An indefinite suspension isn’t as severe as it sounds. Carr is able to reapply for her law license in two years if she proves to the supreme court she has dealt with her issues. Koblentz said he assumes she will be reapplying.
In December 2021, the Board of Professional Conduct filed a report detailing a slew of misconduct allegations that it said occurred between 2017 and 2020.
The 58-page report detailed the multiple instances of Carr’s misconduct and put everything into five categories:
- Issuance Capiases and False Statements
- Ex Parte Communications, Improper Plea Bargaining, Arbitrary Dispositions
- Improper use of Capiases and Bond to Compel Payment of Fines and Court Costs
- Public Confidence, Lack of Decorum and Dignity Consistent with Judicial Office
- Abuse of Contempt Power and Failure to Recuse
To summarize just a few off the issues of misconduct listed, the board said Carr allegedly did the following:
- During the start of the pandemic when the courthouse activity was suspended, she didn’t reschedule her cases and issued warrants for defendants who failed to appear. She rewarded defendants who did appear by waiving fines.
- Lied to two media outlets, claiming she had not issued warrants for people who did not come to court.
- Routinely conducting hearings without the prosecutor present “to avoid compliance with procedural safeguards without interference from the city’s legal counsel. “
- Recommended pleas to unrepresented defendants with no prosecutor present, accepted pleas without explanation or discussion, routinely dismissed cases after unilaterally entering no contest pleas on behalf of defendants, and waived fines and costs without inquiry as to defendants’ ability to pay.
- ignored the court’s established procedure to set up contracts to pay fines and costs at the time of sentencing. Set her own “Ability to Pay Hearings” without notifying the defendant or clerk’s office, then would issue a capias ordering the arrest of the defendant and set a bond.
- Wore inappropriate clothing to her courtroom, including T-shirts, shorts, tank tops and sneakers.
- Made frequent references to “Paradise Valley,” a Starz television series about a Mississippi strip club, when speaking with her staff and defendants, “all this while lawyers and their clients waited to have their matters resolved and the public watched.”
- Routinely spoke in an “undignified manner,” made jokes about accepting bribes and kickbacks from defendants.
Read the article here.
Hat Tip Jeff