Angela Stokes, who for two decades reigned as one of the worst Cleveland Municipal Court judges ever to exist and who more recently had found employment at Chick-fil-a in Strongsville
, had her law license reinstated by the Ohio Supreme Court today. It was part of deal Stokes had struck with the court stemming from a longstanding battle with the court's disciplinary counsel.
In 2013, the counsel originated a complaint alleging a host of misconduct during her tenure. A trial before the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct ensued in 2015. Later that year, in a deal between the parties, Stokes retired from the bench and promised to never seek public office again. In exchange, the counsel dropped the 2013 complaint and wouldn't oppose the reinstatement of her law license once her suspension was lifted.
For more context, here are some of the allegations in the 2013 report:
a. Has been unable to efficiently run a courtroom;
b. Perceives problems where there are none;
c. Engages in unprofessional conduct, including needless shouting matches with prosecutors, defense counsel, court employees, and the public; and
d. Views comments/questions about her decisions or actions as a personal attach on her and the integrity of the court.
From a global perspective, respondent's behavior has negatively impacted every component of the criminal justice system that she has come into contact with as a judicial officer including prosecutors, public defenders, security bailiffs, personal bailiffs, court reporters, psychiatric clinic employees, probation officers, defendants, and the public — and has led to the adoption of several court-wide rules or department policy changes in order to accommodate respondent's unwarranted use of court resources and constantly changing expectations.
Despite these accommodations, respondent has been unable or unwilling to recognize that most, if not all, of the problems in her courtroom are the result of her own actions. Rather than accepting responsibility for her conduct and working towards a resolution, respondent persists in blaming others for the problems in her courtroom.