Judge Pinky Carr: The Idiot In The Courtroom

There’s no social distance in a courtroom, even if it’s not nearly as much of an incubator as a jail or prison. But far more importantly, the continuation of routine criminal proceedings, mostly a waste of time under the best of circumstances, is beyond a pointless risk under current circumstances. Indeed, the administrative judge ordered hearings be limited to jail cases, because requiring bail cases to show up in court, which often includes getting there and back on mass transit, to be told when the next time they have to show up isn’t worth any risk of illness, no less death.

But Judge Pinky Carr will be there.

For those who don’t appreciate what she’s saying, it wasn’t an act of personal bravery so that those who choose to appear won’t find an empty courtroom. What she was saying is that she, apparently proud of not watching TV or paying attention to the admin judge’s order, will sit on her bench and, if a defendant fails to appear, perform her happy function of issuing capiases,

bench warrants. Not only is she proud of her own fortitude, but she’s less than complimentary of Assistant Cuyahoga County Public Defender Mark Jablonski arguing that exposing defendants to risk of infection for the purpose of appeasing Judge Carr might be a poor use of their life.

Jablonski asked whether his office could tell its clients who are not in jail that they would not need to come to the courthouse.

“Don’t call people and tell them not to show up,” she said. “If they show up, I’m here.”

Jablonski asked, “in light of the pandemic, there’s no concern?”

“Hi,” she said. “For the third time, I will be here. If people show up, I am here.”

Whether her continued willingness to sit on her rather elaborately decorated bench is a matter of bravery, stupidity or self-loathing, I leave to people who know her better, but what she’s saying is that as long as she chooses to be there, defendants better as well.

Six minutes after Jablonski thanked Carr and walked out of the room, the judge turned to her courtroom staff and brought up his request again.

“‘I’m gonna call them and tell them don’t come,’” Carr mocked. “I’m sure he is. Little idiot.”

Of the potential impacts of a pandemic, apparently forgetting that the cameras are still rolling in the courtroom after the public defenders have left is underappreciated.

There were two possibilities in light of Judge Pinky Carr’s boldly mocking response to the eminently reasonable and proper concern reflected by Jablonski’s request. They could thank her for her fortitude and give her the “Judge of the Month” award for her toughness in the face of potential death, or they could be less enthralled by her judicial temperament.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor on Friday stripped Carr of her authority to hear any criminal and traffic cases until the justice rules on an emergency motion filed by the county’s public defender seeking to temporarily disqualify her from all such cases.

What bears repeating is that regular appearances in criminal cases are one of the most mind-numbingly wasteful and counterproductive uses of time imaginable. You show up. You sit, often for hours. You wait for your name to be called, and then stand up at the table next to a lawyer you may not know, for about 30 seconds while some mumbo-jumbo is spoken, culminating in another date when you get to do it all over again.

You miss a day of work. You have to find someone to take care of the kids. Your employer is pissed because you’re not there, and you keep not being there each time you have to go to court. You spend money you don’t have to get to court. And all this is under normal circumstances.

Maybe Judge Carr isn’t entirely wrong to be fearless, though the risk of sitting on a bench surrounded by a 12-year-old’s bedroom decorations probably isn’t the same as the defendants who appear before her, but that doesn’t mean she gets to impose the risk of infection, and potentially death, on others upon pain of capiases, on others. Because she might, you know, be wrong, and the price of her poor judgment is ultra vires.

Now that Judge Carr’s injudicious risk to others has been revealed, Justice O’Connor’s decision to strip her of authority was the only proper determination available for the moment, but leaves open the question of how someone so lacking in in judgment could be returned to a position of authority over others at any time.

Judge Carr has no business on the bench. Her calling Jablonski a “little idiot” is a sufficient reflection of her lack of judicial temperament and bias, but no doubt Jablonski is tough enough to survive the name-calling. Far more important is that a person who wears a robe and gets to destroy people’s lives is so lacking in sound judgment as to substitute her cavalier lack of concern for her own health and that of her courtroom staff for that of presumptively innocent defendants who really don’t want to risk death because some wackjob on the bench doesn’t think a pandemic is a big deal.

15 thoughts on “Judge Pinky Carr: The Idiot In The Courtroom

  1. John Barleycorn

    Whatever.. she should get a pass just for the amount of interesting trinkets and do-hickies on her bench.

    Looks like to me there could even be a bong amongst her collection, which if true should move her to the front of the line for an appointment and confirmation promotion.

    AND, lets face it, even if you disagree, she has tissues which I am sure she shares…

  2. Bruce Coulson

    In every disaster, there are people who refuse to acknowledge the facts. A few of them (like Judge Carr) are important, and use their authority to force others to do so as well. Sometimes they pay the price for ignoring the facts; other times, they manage to survive even though they shouldn’t. I’m just disappointed that it’s yet again another Ohio judge being stupid.

    1. SHG Post author

      Without delving into the arguments (again), at best she wears a robe because of her ability in the law, not because she’s not otherwise a flaming nutjob. One constant problem with judges (and too many others who think well of themselves) is that they forget that they’re not on the bench because they’re the smartest, most moral, most decent, most sane, most normal person in the universe.

  3. B. McLeod

    It’s Cleve Land. The Cleves have always been a bit off. (Perhaps this one bit off more than she can chew).

  4. Richard Kopf


    Sometimes you hit it out of the park. You did so today with both posts.

    Both illustrate the best and worst of humanity. Someday, long from now, a fellow or a gal will delve into the library of Congress and come away impressed with some person with the moniker “SHG” who was writing cool yet important stuff. Now, having raped you, while you scream “tummy rub,” spare me your misplaced ire. In a long past era, I recall the phrase “relax and enjoy it.” You should too.

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      Not that I can predict the future, but the one thing I can say with certainty is that there will be no statue of me in front of the David Lat Courthouse, Judge.

      1. Black Bellamy

        Why not? There will be lots of room for statues. I hear the old ones are being washed away, not sure global warming or wokedozers but either way. What if we gave you a spot next to Rocky in Philly? You could stand there holding the Book of Justice and also some towels for Rocky, and you would be totally cool until someone found this exact post and declared quite rightly that you’re a Nazi.

  5. Hunting Guy

    Rudyard Kipling.

    “Pleasant it is for the Little Tin Gods
    When great Jove nods;
    But Little Tin Gods make their little mistakes
    In missing the hour when great Jove wakes.”

    1. B. McLeod

      I could never figure out from that whole series which one was the genius and which was insane.

  6. PseudonymousKid


    Cleveland is known for its, um, “eccentric” judges and a large number of lower courts for those judges to, um, “flourish”. Good news if you want weird judgments. Bad news if you want consistency. God bless the 8th District, but this judge is an embarrassment. Hopefully she gets smacked down hard and put in line by the almighty rules of superintendence.


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