Judge Michelle D. Earley


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

Judge Michelle Denise Earley was elected to the Cleveland Municipal Court on November 3, 2009 following her appointment by Governor Ted Strickland.  She was reelected to a full six year term in November of 2011.

Judge Earley attended The Ohio State University on a full scholarship 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. As an assistant county prosecutor, she successfully prosecuted a large number of criminal cases from capital murder cases to drug possession. She was then responsible for the training and development of trial lawyers.   Judge Earley then became the project coordinator for the East Cleveland Gang Free Schools Grant geared toward reducing gangs and their level of influence on the youth in that area. Judge Earley 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 Supervisor. As the Grand Jury Supervisor, her daily responsibilities required that she review cases with a high level of honesty and objectivity that preserved the rule of law while still seeking justice on behalf of citizens of Cuyahoga County.  

Becoming a judge is a continuation of Judge Earley’s commitment to the law and her commitment to serve the community. She is one of three judges that preside over the Dedicated Domestic Violence Docket in the Cleveland Municipal Court. She 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.  In 2010, Judge Earley was one of 137 judges selected to receive an ASTAR Program judicial science and technology education scholarship to participate in a 20 month program designed to enhance the Court’s ability to deal with issues relating to science and technology. 

“Collective we are no better than the least among us,” Judge Earley 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 her community and thrives on reaching out to the people in the community, through her church, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, and other community organizations. 

Judge Earley states that the primary objective of her life can be summed up by a quote by Erma Bombeck, “ When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

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