Local judge makes expensive attorney swap - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Local judge makes expensive attorney swap

Another expensive change will cost taxpayer money in the case against Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes.

Judge Stokes' law license was suspended amid allegations of abusive behavior in the courtroom.

Attorney Richard Alkire was handling her case.  Now, Judge Stokes has dropped Alkire and added attorney Larry Zuckerman and his team.

That means an attorney who was familiar with the case is out, and a new lawyer, who will take many hours to get familiar with it, is in.

All those hours getting familiar with the case will ultimately cost taxpayer dollars.

Judge Stokes' courtroom behavior, along with complaints by lawyers, staff and defendants, were the basis of a request from the Board of Grievances of the Disciplinary Counsel of the Ohio Supreme Court to launch an investigation.

The investigation was headed up by local attorney Michael Murman.

Six months later, presiding Judge Ronald Adrine stripped Judge Stokes of her criminal docket and had other judges handle it.

Stokes kept her civil case docket.

After more than $116,000 of taxpayer money was spent by Judge Stokes to defend herself from the charges, and to defend two other judges she sued, she was handed an immediate interim remedial suspension by Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.

The suspension meant that even the civil cases Judge Stokes was handling were taken from her.

Judge Stokes is not currently working but is still being paid her annual salary of $114,000.

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