Posted on October 20, 2022

Judge Suspended Indefinitely for ‘Unprecedented Misconduct’

Kahtleen Maloney, Court News Ohio, October 18, 2022

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr was suspended indefinitely and removed from office by the Supreme Court of Ohio today.

Pinkey Carr

Pinkey Carr

The Supreme Court found that Judge Carr’s “unprecedented misconduct” over a two-year period included “blatant and systematic disregard of due process, the law, court orders, and local rules.” The judge also was repeatedly dishonest, treated court staff and litigants disrespectfully, abused her power to issue arrest warrants and find individuals in contempt of court.


In March 2020, the Cleveland Municipal Court presiding judge ordered the rescheduling of civil and criminal cases to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Judge Carr, however, continued to preside over her regular docket the next week. For criminal defendants who did not appear for their hearings , Judge Carr ordered them to be arrested and set bonds ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. For defendants who were “brave enough,” according to Judge Carr, to appear in court despite the potential for exposure to the virus, she waived fines and court costs.

The public defender assigned to the judge’s courtroom asked about the rescheduling order. Judge Carr replied that not everyone watches the news and that the public defender should not tell people to not show up, because she would be in court.

When local news media interviewed the judge, she lied about issuing arrest warrants. She also lied to her presiding judge about the actions.


During the disciplinary process, Judge Carr agreed to 583 statements of fact and misconduct stretching across 126 pages. In its report to the Supreme Court, the board stated that it catalogued only a limited sample of the judge’s admitted misconduct.

Among her other ethics violations, Judge Carr acknowledged that she often held hearings without a prosecutor present to avoid complying with the safeguards in state law – such as the requirements that a judge inform the accused of the nature of the charge, the identity of the complainant, the right to counsel, and the effect of different pleas.

The judge also falsified court journal entries by claiming that the prosecutor had amended charges or that she had held hearings to determine a defendant’s ability to pay fines or court costs. She used warrants and incarceration to force the payment of fines and costs by tying the person’s bond to the amount of the fine and costs – “essentially creat[ing] a modern-day debtors’ prison,” the Court’s opinion stated. At least five people spent time in jail as a result.

In one case, Judge Carr abused her power to hold a person in contempt. The person served 15 days in jail.

Judge Carr also violated rules governing the appropriate dress, order, and decorum for courtrooms. Her bench was littered with dolls, cups, novelty items, and junk. She presided over her courtroom wearing tank tops, T-shirts – some with images or slogans, spandex shorts, and sneakers. She discussed with her staff and defendants a television show called “P-Valley” about a fictional Mississippi strip club. She also joked about accepting kickbacks in lieu of fines and having defendants give her and court staff items such as food, beverages, carpeting, or storage space in exchange for lenient sentences. {snip}


Judge Carr argued that diagnosed mental health disorders were a contributing cause to her misconduct. The board concluded that she did not establish that her current mental disorders caused her past misconduct. {snip}