Man sentenced by now-suspended Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr speaks out on 2014 conviction

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:45 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A man sentenced by now-suspended Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr is urging others who feel wronged by her to file complaints with the Ohio Supreme Court.

Jeffery Goodwin was given a six-month sentence in the now-closed Cleveland House of Corrections in 2014 for a first-offense DUI.

He told 19 News Carr sentenced him without his paid attorney present, instead assigning him a public defender.

“If you ever went into Pinkey Carr’s courtroom, you would walk out,” he said. “Her courtroom even back then looked like a circus.”

Citing alleged courtroom misconduct, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended Carr indefinitely from practicing law and immediately removed her on Oct. 18.

Goodwin was among the many who were angered by the shocking allegations.

“I had to sound off because this was long overdue,” he said. “I was treated unfairly. And it’s like the system failed me.”

He said while serving his sentence, which included fines and probation, he filed a complaint with the Supreme Court. He said once the complaint reached Carr, she set him free.

In light of the recent developments, Goodwin is urging other defendants in Carr’s court to file a grievance with the state’s high court.

“The Ohio Supreme Court ultimately has oversight, and they maintain a website where people can go to look into exactly how to file a complaint,” said Case Western Reserve University Law Professor Cassandra Burke Robertson said. “I think that’s an important part of the process is for the public to understand that they can seek redress in these situations.”

Carr is facing serious allegations that started at the beginning of the pandemic. Some of the accusations she’s facing include holding hearings when the court was closed in March 2020.

The Supreme Court said she “essentially created a modern-day debtors prison.”

For the people who didn’t show up to court, they were issued arrest warrants and bonds ranging from $2,500 to 10,000.

In a courtroom video from March 2020, Carr is heard talking about a news article written about the allegations of her issuing arrest warrants for those who didn’t come to court.

“It’s a miracle people are here. You know what that article will do now that people have known, ‘Oh Judge Carr issued a warrant for your arrest,’” Carr said. “Is that going to make people come down here now? Brilliant.”

Her defense attorney, Nicholas Froning, argued at her disciplinary hearing before Ohio’s Supreme Court that her health issues contributed to her misconduct.

The other allegations of ethics violations include wearing inappropriate clothes. The Court said she would show up to her courtroom in tank tops, t-shirts with images or slogans, spandex shorts, and sneakers.

The Court said her bench was littered with “dolls, cups, novelty items, and junk.”

She was also heard joking about accepting kickbacks in exchange for lenient sentences.

Carr’s reinstatement can happen if a healthcare professional says she can return to practicing law “competently, ethically, and professionally” and her compliance with an agreement with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program.

Carr is up for re-election in 2023, but her suspension will bar her from running.