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Judge Michelle D. Earley

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Judge Michelle D. Earley
Administrative and Presiding Judge
Courtroom:
14-C
Bailiff:  Larisa Thomas
Phone: 216 664-4997  
Fax: 216 664-6735

Michelle D. Earley was appointed to the Cleveland Municipal Court on April 20, 2009 and was elected the following November.  By a unanimous vote of the Judges in December of 2017, she became Administrative and Presiding Judge making her responsible for the business and overall direction of the Court.

“With the assistance of my colleagues, my goal is to continue moving the Court forward with new technology and innovative practices,” said Judge Earley.

Judge Earley attended The Ohio State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems.  She then chose to move to Cleveland to attend Case Western Reserve University School of Law. 

Judge Earley possesses a strong commitment to the law and the community.  Her commitment to serving the community began with her career path of county prosecutor. She successfully prosecuted a large number of criminal cases and, shortly thereafter, became responsible for the training and development of trial lawyers.  Judge Earley then became the project coordinator for the East Cleveland Gang Free Schools Grant, which was geared toward reducing gangs and their level of influence on the youth in that area.  In that capacity she utilized and, in some cases, created programs that provided job training, life skills and anger management classes.  The youth were rewarded by playing on a basketball team Judge Earley created called, “The East Cleveland Cavaliers.”  The programs and strategies created in this project were later utilized throughout the country as one of the project models to reduce youth involvement in gangs.

At the completion of the grant, Judge Earley was promoted to Grand Jury and Region 3 Supervisor, where her daily responsibilities required that she review cases with a high level of objectivity that preserved the rule of law, while still seeking justice on behalf of the citizens of Cuyahoga County. 

Becoming a judge was a continuation of her commitment to the law and her commitment to serve the community. Judge Earley believes that it is truly an honor and at the same time, humbling to be in this position and to serve the public in such capacity.  Since joining the Court, Judge Earley has presided over the Dedicated Domestic Violence Docket since 2010. She currently presides over the Domestic Violence High Risk Docket. She was appointed to the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts in 2012 and reappointed in 2015. Judge Earley was also selected to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Grand Jury Task Force.  She currently serves on the Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Diversity Committee.  Additionally, she has completed coursework to become an Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Program (ASTAR) Fellow.

“Collectively we are no better than the least among us,” she says, a belief instilled in her at an early age by her mother, whom she calls her best friend.  To that end, she is active in the community and thrives on reaching out to disadvantaged or troubled youth through her church, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, and other community organizations, like her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

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