The Fayette County Democrats will hold their annual Obama Legacy Dinner this Sunday, Feb. 17 and will welcome two newly-elected Ohio Supreme Court Justices.
Michael P. Donnelly and Melody J. Stewart were elected in the statewide election in November 2018 to a full term on the court. Both are scheduled to speak at the dinner, which will be held at Our Place Restaurant, 827 E. Market St. in Washington C.H.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 p.m. The tickets are $15 per person.
Prior to joining the state court, Justice Donnelly served as a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, General Division for 14 years, from 2005 to 2018. He was elected to the seat in November 2004 and re-elected in 2010 and 2016.
Before serving as a member of the local judiciary, Justice Donnelly was an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor from 1992 until 1997. He then went on to practice civil litigation for seven years, representing plaintiffs and injured workers in asbestos litigation, personal injury lawsuits, and workers’ compensation claims.
In recent years, Justice Donnelly served as chair of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism and currently is a member of both the Ohio State Board of Bar Examiners and the Ohio Jury Instruction Committee. He was appointed by the chief justice to the Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force in 2013.
In addition, from 2010 to 2017, he was one of five judges on Cuyahoga County’s Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Court, which oversees criminal cases involving defendants who suffer from schizophrenia, schizophrenic disorder or a developmental disability. He also has been a faculty member of the Ohio Judicial College, teaching both attorneys and judges at numerous continuing-legal-education seminars on professionalism and issues of civil and criminal justice reform.
He and his wife, Nancy, reside in Cleveland Heights. They have two children.
Justice Melody Stewart is the first African-American woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Stewart served on the Eighth District Court of Appeals – elected to an unexpired term in 2006, and twice reelected to full terms. She served as the court’s administrative judge in 2013.
Justice Stewart has more than 30 years of combined administrative, legal and academic experience. She was an administrator for a health care management company, a music teacher, a civil defense litigator, and a law school administrator and professor before being elected to the Court of Appeals. While on the appellate court, Justice Stewart was assigned to hear cases in other appellate districts and on the Ohio Supreme Court.
After practicing law as an assistant law director for the cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland, Justice Stewart worked as a lecturer, an adjunct instructor, and an assistant dean at Cleveland-Marshall before joining the full-time faculty. Her primary teaching areas were ethics and professional responsibility, criminal law, criminal procedure, and legal research, writing, and advocacy. Additionally, she taught at the University of Toledo College of Law and at Ursuline College. She also was director of student services at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.
Justice Stewart is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Ohio, the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court.
Bio information on the two Supreme Court Justices was provided by the Supreme Court of Ohio website.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica