Opening statements in the disciplinary case against suspended
painted far different pictures of her work on the bench.
Attorney Robert Caligiuri of the Disciplinary Counsel told the three Judge panel, "When a person, any person walked into Judge Stokes courtroom 15C in Cleveland Municipal Court they walked into a different universe where rudeness, impatience, judicial incompetence, disrespect and disorder ruled the day."
He used played video of Stokes berating an attorney in the following exchange, 'I am tired of this nonsense, you are out of order. You are out of order counsel. I gave your client a break by only ordering two days of this sentence into execution.'
The question before the Disciplinary Council is whether the behavior is abusive enough for Judge Stokes to be removed from the bench.
The strategy of Judge Stokes defense team seems to be that all the things the Disciplinary Council cites in it's complaint against her were secretly collected by Presiding Judge Ronald Adrine and his predecessor Judge Larry Jones and were part of a plot to get her off the bench.
Attorney Paul Daiker claims, "The evidence will show that Judge Adrine recruited and rewarded a number of individuals willing to bear false witness against Judge Stokes."
Judge Jones was the first witness saying he tried many times to have her correct her courtroom behavior saying, "It would work for two weeks, three weeks." He says his concern was her treatment of others. He cited several examples "leaving the court house at 6 o'clock, 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock and again it's unfair to them and also as I indicated it's unfair to the public."
Stokes law license is currently suspended temporarily. The panel hearing testimony will make a recommendation to the Ohio Supreme Court who will make a final decision.