Judge Joseph J. Zone


Judge Joseph J. Zone
Courtroom: 14-D
Bailiff:  Vincent T. Zvomuya
Phone:  (216) 664-4981
Fax: (216) 664-4977

Joe Zone is fulfilling a childhood dream as a judge on the Cleveland Municipal Court.

“I was one of a few in my class who went to law school with the intention of becoming a judge.  I’m extremely comfortable being impartial and fair,” he says.

Judge Zone was taught the value of public service at an early age and took part in the political process since he became a teenager.   A lifelong Clevelander, he was raised on West Boulevard and graduated from St. Edward High School in 1972.   His interest in social work lead to a bachelor’s degree in sociology and subsequently his law degree from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1980.  Judge Zone also worked as an associate teacher with the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation’s Positive Education Program during law school. His students were at the junior high level and were diagnosed as behaviorally disordered.

From 1981 until 2000, Joe Zone was an attorney and partner with his wife of 24 years, Joan Pellegrin, at the law offices of Pellegrin and Zone.  In 1995, he decided to run for a seat on the Cleveland City Council.  He won then and in three subsequent elections.   He became Chairman of the Legislation Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Public Safety Committee and also served on Parks and Recreation, Health, Finance, Economic Development and the City Planning Committees.  While on council Joe Zone voted on crucial legislation that returned the NFL to Cleveland and brought our Browns home.

Judge Zone has been on the bench since January 1, 2000.  

As a municipal judge, Joe Zone devotes time to resolving the problems encountered with mentally disordered offenders and substance abuse problems.  He is also a big proponent of community service in lieu of, or in addition to jail time for law violators.

Since he’s taken the bench, Judge Zone has earned and enjoys the reputation as being the “go to” Judge, because he’s always willing to roll up his sleeves and pitch in for the Court and the public. 

In 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed Judge Zone to serve on their Case Flow Management Committee and at the request of the Ohio Judicial College, he sits on a committee to develop a curriculum for judges to improve their mentoring skills.   Judge Zone also serves on the Public Confidence and Outreach Committee for the Ohio Judicial College; was past president of the Northern Ohio Municipal Judges Association and currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Judges Association.

A member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, he enjoys traveling and participation sports, like marathon running and rugby.  In fact, he is a founding and active member of the Cleveland Rovers Rugby Club.

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