Commitment to causes leads judge to Supreme Court


Eighth District Judge Emanuella Groves

Black woman with curly hair wearing a pearl necklace and a court dress sitting behind a bench.

Eighth District Judge Emanuella Groves

Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Emanuella Groves sat for her first closing argument before the Supreme Court. The accomplishment is the latest honor for a judge with decades of accomplishments serving the people of Ohio.

“The environment of [Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center] and the courtroom is breathtaking,” said Judge Groves, who joined the Eighth District in February 2021. “I was happy to be in the room and serving.

Since she began her legal career 41 years ago, the judge has always argued for the greater good. As the seventh of eight children raised in Canton, she was steeped in a belief in doing the right thing.

“The principles of helping others, hard work and education were imposed on me by my parents at a very young age,” said Judge Groves, who graduated from high school and college in three years each.

Throughout her 18 years on the Cleveland City Court bench, she sought opportunities to help those in trouble and guide them to a brighter future. She led efforts to help more than 600 adults earn their GED degrees, designed new court procedures to process and release those charged with petty offenses instead of waiting for resolution in jail, and launched a reintegration program. for drivers whose license has been suspended. This has removed a barrier for hundreds of people so they can get to work, potentially access better jobs, and manage their families’ daily needs.

“There are so many ways we as a justice system can help the public. Judges and courts can hold people accountable while doing more to provide tools and resources to address larger issues that may lead to criminal behavior,” Judge Groves said.

In her final two years on the trial court, Justice Groves provided support to an often overlooked population by presiding over a specialized mental health role. His dedication to helping people with mental health and addiction issues has won him awards from advocacy groups.

“That kind of honor is a product of the time and energy of me and a lot of people,” she said.

Judge Groves co-founded the Ohio Black Judges Association to increase diversity in Ohio’s courts and to provide a collective voice to address issues in the administration of justice. She applied the same diligence in her preparation to serve on the Supreme Court.

“The experience was very exciting and a privilege. I’m just grateful for this opportunity,” Judge Groves said.

She sat in place of Judge Patrick DeWine, who recused himself from ex rel. Bowling vs. DeWine. According to the Ohio Constitution, in the event of a judge’s recusal, the Chief Justice selects a judge from the Court of Appeals to serve temporarily on the Supreme Court.

The Bowling the case asks whether Ohio should accept all federal unemployment benefits. In June 2021, Governor Mike DeWine turned down federal money that would have provided additional weekly benefits for unemployed workers during the pandemic.


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