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Ohio Supreme Court Suspends Judge, Boots Her from Bench for ‘Unprecedented’ Misconduct

The Ohio Supreme Court has removed a Cleveland municipal court judge from the bench over what the justices described as “unprecedented misconduct.” The decision comes after the court’s Board of Professional Conduct found that Judge Pinkey Carr had ruled her courtroom in a “reckless and cavalier manner, unrestrained by the law or the court’s rules,” according to Cleveland.com. The Ohio justices ruled 5-2 on Tuesday to indefinitely suspend Carr’s law license. In the majority opinion, the justices stated that “Carr’s unprecedented misconduct involved more than 100 stipulated incidents that occurred over a period of approximately two years.” The opinion cited “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 [arrest] warrants and the court’s contempt power.” Carr’s misdeeds led to wrongful arrests, according to the ruling. “That misconduct warrants an indefinite suspension from the practice of law,” the ruling said. After investigating Carr, the Board of Professional Conduct reported in December that she had acted “in a manner befitting a game show host rather than a judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court.” The board recommended a two-year suspension for the embattled judge. Unfortunately for her, the high court decided to go even further. Carr could not be reached for comment by Cleveland.com, but her attorney said he was “disappointed with the severity of the sanction.” The investigation into Carr’s courtroom conduct began after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She held in-person hearings despite an order from the court’s administrative judge that all such proceedings were to be postponed. When people didn’t show up for these hearings, Carr issued arrest warrants for them. She later lied on the local news, saying, “As far as issuing warrants for their arrest? Absolutely untrue.” Courtroom video footage easily debunked Carr’s claims, and the initial investigation into her actions uncovered misconduct spanning the course of years. The examination found that Carr was jailing people in order to compel them to pay fines. She even sent a woman to jail for 15 days for rolling her eyes and criticizing Carr’s courtroom during proceedings. She also negotiated plea deals with defendants on behalf of prosecutors who were not present and proceeded to falsify documents saying that the prosecutors were there. The latter action could constitute a crime, according to the state Supreme Court’s ruling. Carr has sought to excuse her conduct by blaming a mood disorder brought on by sleep apnea and menopause, according to Cleveland.com. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has appointed a special prosecutor to determine whether Carr’s actions require further legal action. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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