Cleveland judge agrees to step down

Posted at 1:49 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 13:49:37-05

A Cleveland municipal court judge who was accused of mistreating staff, defendants and others will step down, and she has agreed never to serve as a judge again in exchange for her disciplinary case being dropped.

An Ohio Supreme Court panel is expected to approve the arrangement struck by Judge Angela Stokes and the court's disciplinary arm, reported Tuesday. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 6.

The Supreme Court's disciplinary branch filed charges against Stokes in 2013 alleging she had mistreated court staff, lawyers and defendants and used a disproportionate amount of court resources.

Stokes is the daughter of late Cleveland Congressman Louis Stokes. She was elected in 1995 to fill an unexpired term and was then elected to three six-year terms, most recently in 2011.

Because she is a city employee, Stokes was entitled to a taxpayer-funded defense. According to city records, she has been able to hire, fire and rehire lawyers and law firms and has used six lawyers or firms. Her defense has cost the city more than $1 million.

Stokes' attorney, Larry Zukerman, argued during the trial that Stokes was a conscientious judge who took time to make sure she made the right rulings.

Zuckerman said the deal allows Stokes to move forward with her life and career.