We have previously dealt with judges found to be mentally disturbed but kept on the bench despite erratic behavior. The most recent case involves Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes who has long had a bad reputation as a judge for her domineering and sometimes bizarre conduct from the bench. Now a report from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel has concluded that Stokes may be “suffering from a mental illness that substantially impairs her ability to perform her duties as a judicial officer.” The local newspaper is calling for her resignation. As with other judges found to be incompetent, Stokes has been reelected easily. She is the daughter of former Cleveland Congressman Louis Stokes. While she has received consistently poor ratings from bar associations and newspaper editorial boards, she has easily won re-election.
The 49-page report below asks for an order to undergo a psychiatric examination. It details a pattern of abusive treatment of lawyers and court staff and defendants who appear before her.
One of the most telling facts is that Stokes employed 21 different personal bailiffs at 27 different times since 1995.
Stokes is yet another example of how powerful political families secure positions for incompetent children with the support of Democratic and Republican leaders. Despite negative reviews and opposition from lawyers, she was reelected to a full six-year term in 1999, 2005 and 2011. In addition to her father, the former congressman, she is the niece of the late Carl B. Stokes, former U.S. Ambassador, Mayor of Cleveland and Judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court.
Stokes graduated with honors from the University of Maryland, College Park. Ironically, she received her bachelor of arts degree in psychology. She received her juris doctor from the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.