Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Respected Judge and Educator, Patrick Carroll, Retires

Image is a headshot photo of Judge Carroll in his black judicial robe

After 31 years of distinction, Judge Patrick Carroll steps down from the bench.

Image is a headshot photo of Judge Carroll in his black judicial robe

After 31 years of distinction, Judge Patrick Carroll steps down from the bench.

After more than three decades of service, Lakewood Municipal Judge Patrick Carroll has retired.

Judge Carroll concluded his sixth term on the bench on Friday and is not eligible for reelection. The Ohio Constitution prevents judges from taking office after turning 70 years of age.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Judge Carroll, a lifelong Lakewood resident. “This community is wonderful.”

Judge Carroll became one of Ohio’s preeminent judicial educators over the past 20 years. He was committed to continual growth and learning as a legal practitioner and regularly contributed to sharing his knowledge with other jurists and lawyers through various professional organizations, including the Ohio Supreme Court’s Judicial College.

The pandemic ended in-person continuing legal education for 2020. In the eight ensuing months, he instructed 10 webinars.

“I never taught a course that I didn’t learn something new from the research, which made me a better judge,” Judge Carroll said.

Judicial officers benefited from his analysis on issues, including eviction moratoriums and tolling orders extending statutes of limitations for cases. The initiative earned Judge Carroll the President’s Award for Judicial Excellence from the Association of Municipal/County Judges of Ohio (AMCJO) in February 2021. It was his second time receiving the honor.

Judge Carroll also led at an administrative level. He was the AMCJO’s education chair, co-chair of the Ohio Jury Instructions Committee, and a member of the Judicial College Board of Trustees.

“He led by his words and his actions,” said Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Judge Carroll is a shining example of all the good one person can do to strengthen the judicial system.”

Judge Carroll graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977. His journey to the bench began as a clerk for Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge John V. Corrigan. Judge Corrigan mentored six clerks who rose to judgeships, including former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell.

After his clerkship, Judge Carroll worked as an assistant prosecutor in Cuyahoga County. Among his primary clients, were the common pleas and juvenile courts, advocating for judges in civil litigation cases.

His case knowledge expanded beyond the trial court level. Although the Eighth District was outside his jurisdiction, the appellate court once asked Judge Carroll to represent it before the Supreme Court.

“I spent a lot of time talking to judges and getting their side of the story,” said Judge Carroll. “I was constantly back and forth with the court of appeals, writing more than 100 writs, many of which ended up in the Supreme Court.”

After leaving the prosecutor’s office for private practice, he also began teaching as an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall Law. In February 1990, Judge Carroll was appointed to preside over Lakewood Municipal Court.

His approach as a judicial officer was simple – create an impartial atmosphere, let the litigants feel heard, keep proceedings orderly, and “try to keep the misdemeanants from graduating to felony school.”

As courts took a more proactive role in treating substance use issues, Judge Carroll became more connected with parts of the community invested in recovery.

“Drug cases are tough,” he said. “There are going to be mistakes, but you keep working for a miracle to happen.”

Judge Carroll treasures sobriety coins and letters of appreciation from people he helped reform.

“I didn’t do it. All I did was point them in the right direction,” Judge Carroll said.

The retired jurist’s next chapter is full of possibilities, including serving as a visiting judge.

He plans to start with a trip to Spain where he and his wife will walk 200 miles of St. James’ pilgrimage.

“Experiencing the Camino de Santiago is something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” Judge Carroll said. “Now, we finally have the time to do it.”