Thursday, December 10, 2015
WOIO-TV Channel 19 reporting Judge Angela Stokes has agreed to retire/resign to settle disciplinary charges
If accurate, this would bring a sad end to what will unfortunately be a career-defining episode of Judge Stokes' lengthy judicial career. Reportedly, this offer came from the Stokes camp as a proposed conclusion to a long-running disciplinary proceedings that have painted the judge as a mercurial and difficult jurist who indiscriminately offended and alienated private attorneys, prosecutors, court personnel, and litigants alike.
Disciplinary charges have been underway before the Ohio Supreme Court for years to remove or otherwise discipline Judge Stokes, who, while still a member of Cleveland Municipal Court, has not heard cases for about a year as her case has progressed. Recent reports have suggested that the City of Cleveland has spent in excess of $1 million on her defense.
If Judge Stokes does retire/resign, she likely will be able to receive a full state pension. She served as an assistant attorney general for a time before being elected to the Cleveland Municipal Court. She also could likely buy additional years of service under state rules.
The Ohio Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of Stokes' law license at the end of these proceedings, either based on the record or upon an agreement worked out by the Office of Disciplinary Conduct and the judge.
It should be noted that the case against the judge has been based upon her conduct and approach to cases and not upon any allegations of criminal or unethical misconduct.
Judge Stokes is the daughter of former Cleveland Congressman Louis Stokes, who died earlier this year. He served in Congress for thirty years before retiring in 1998.