COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - At a hearing at the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus on Thursday, Judge Angela Stokes agreed to retire and never run for the bench again. It was the beginning of the end for a case that cost taxpayers more than $1 million.
It was contentious with her attorney's attempting to block news coverage of the hearing, which was open to the public. The request was denied, since the proceedings were already on the record.
"Judge Stokes would retire from her position with the Cleveland Municipal Court," disciplinary counsel attorney Joseph Caligiuri read from a statement signed by both sides, with the exception of Stokes.
Stokes will sign once agreeing upon a few minor details.
It is an offer that came with conditions. Some charges were dismissed.
The agreements are part of a months long negotiation between the two sides, the state dismissing some counts in return for her stepping down. Others were left to the panel.
There are still other issues to be decided, such as whether or not she will retain her law license and how she will be punished. Those issues will be decided by the three members of the disciplinary board, which means more testimony, including that of Stokes in mitigation.
Of the elements stipulated to, one is key. Prosecutors have dropped their demand for her to undergo a mental health examination. Since she will be off the bench, it is moot.
What it means to the financial drain on Cleveland taxpayers is left to be determined.
The only billings for the month of November in the case were from attorney Larry Zukerman's firm, which submitted a bill for more than $100,000. The firm has billed more than $701,000 in the Stokes case.
Overall costs tally more than $1.1 million.
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