On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled on the Certified Report by the Board of Professional Conduct relating to Cleveland municipal Judge Pinkey Suzanne Carr, charging five counts of judicial misconduct.

The filing is entitled, “Disciplinary Counsel v. Carr” with Case #2022-Oho-3633.

The charges cited Carr’s violation of Rules 1.2, 2.2, 2.8(A), 2.8(B), 2.9(A), 2.11(A)(2)(d) of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct, and Rules 8.4(d) of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct,  which state:

A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

A judge shall uphold and apply the law, and shall perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.

 A judge shall cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business.

A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the court.

A judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.

 A judge shall not initiate, receive, permit, or consider ex parte communications.

According to the filing:

“In a March 2021 amended complaint, relator, disciplinary counsel charged Carr with five counts of judicial misconduct. Each count set forth numerous instances of misconduct that occurred over a period of two years and shared common elements that fall into one or more of the following categories: (1) issuing capias warrants and making false statements, (2) engaging in ex parte communications and improper plea bargaining and rendering arbitrary dispositions, (3) using capias warrants and bonds to improperly compel payment of fines and court costs, (4) exhibiting a lack of decorum and dignity in a judicial office, and (5) abusing contempt power and failing to recuse herself from contempt proceedings in which she had a conflict.”

The filing continues:

“The panel accepted the parties’ stipulations of fact and misconduct and issued a 58-page report recounting limited—but representative—examples of Carr’s admitted misconduct. The panel found that Carr “ruled her courtroom in a reckless and cavalier manner, unconstrained by the law or the court’s rules, without any measure of probity or even common courtesy” and that she“conducted business in a manner befitting a game show host rather than a judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court.” The panel concluded thatCarr’sactions “could not help but seriously compromise the integrity of the court in the eyes of the public and all who had business there.”

The panel recommended a two-year suspension from the practice of law with conditions upon reinstatement.

The Board adopted the panel’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended sanction, and further recommended that Carr be immediately suspended from judicial office without pay for the duration of her disciplinary suspension.

Carr objected to the recommended sanction, arguing that the board applied the wrong legal standard and failed to accord her mental-health disorders as a mitigating factor.

After its review of the record, the court adopted the Board’s findings of misconduct and rejected the two-year suspension recommended by the board.

Correspondingly, the court ordered the indefinite suspension from the practice of law, and immediately suspend her from judicial office without pay for the duration of her suspension.

The Disposition reads:

“Accordingly, Pinkey Suzanne Carr is indefinitely suspended from the practice of lawi n Ohio. Pursuant to Gov.Jud.R. III(7)(A), she is immediately suspended from judicial office without pay for the duration of her disciplinary suspension. In addition to the requirements of Gov.Bar R.V(25), Carr’s reinstatement shall be conditioned on her submission of (1) a report from a qualified healthcare professional stating that she is able to return to the competent, ethical, and professional practice of law and (2) proof of compliance with her October 30, 2021 OLAP contract and any amendment or extension thereof. Costs are taxed to Carr.”

Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, in concurring in part and dissenting part, stated among others:

“I agree with the majority’s determination that respondent, PinkeySuzanne Carr, committed professional misconduct as found by the Board of Professional Conduct. But because the board’s recommended sanction of a two-year suspension from the practice of law would remove Carr from serving as a member of the judiciary, in my view, that sanction would protect the public from future misconduct. I disagree with the majority’s decision to increase sanction and impose an indefinite suspension. I therefore dissent from the sanction imposed by the majority.”

Ms. Pinkey Suzanne Carr was the judge of Cleveland Municipal Court prior to her suspension. She graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She was licensed in Ohio.  Her info can be found on Ballotpedia.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.