Judge Ron Adrine reflects on leaving the bench after 36 years

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - There will be a major change in Cleveland Municipal Court come the first of the year.

It is not the number of new judges coming onto the bench, but a judge who is leaving.

A man, who after 36 years, will leave the court a far different place from the one he walked into in 1982, Administrative and Presiding Judge Ron Adrine.

A sign on the shelf behind Judge Ron Adrine's desk is the first thing he sees every morning. It reminds him of being treated poorly by a judge he later defeated; Judge James Mulcahy.

"I just remember walking out of there and saying, 'You know, this guy doesn't have the temperament to do this job,' and that was really the spark for me to run," said Adrine.

He ran and won by 10,000 votes.

From the bench, he has looked tens of thousands of criminals in the eye.

One sticks out; Anthony Sowell.

"The scariest thing about him was the fact that there was nothing scary about him."

He doesn't let what he sees from his post bother him.

"If I hold on to that stuff, it's the kind of stuff that could eat you alive," said Adrine.

The judge has had a tremendous impact on the court working to establish specialized dockets for veterans, drug abusers, and mental health cases.

He did it by forming committees early in his tenure. Many other judges weren't interested and he jokes, that at times, it was a committee of one.

"I started bringing things to judges' meetings after the fact and saying, 'Well the committee met. Ha, ha, ha. And this is what we decided. And this is what we decided."

Adrine helped establish the Norman Minor Bar Association to encourage minority lawyers.

He is especially proud of using community service work for low-level offenders rather than locking them up. He believes it leads to a better outcome saying, "When they leave our tender mercies that they're better than when we first encountered them. Jail is not the answer for everyone. There are all kinds of ways to hold people accountable."

He leaves with work yet to be done, like bond reform. It may be accomplished by others, but likely will have a lot of his input.

He is passionate about it, noting, "All I know is that if we don't do something to fix the underlying cause that brings people through the door that that door is gonna revolve."

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