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May 22, 2012
Justice Stratton Announces Retirement

The second longest serving justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, announced today her intention to retire by the end of the year.

Appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court by then-Gov. George Voinovich, she assumed office on March 7, 1996. Ohio voters elected Justice Stratton to three six-year terms on the court, the most recent in 2008. Her current term was to expire on January 1, 2015.

Justice Stratton began her legal career as a trial lawyer in the courtrooms of central Ohio. In 1989, she was the first woman to be elected judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where she became known as “The Velvet Hammer” for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases.

In her resignation letter, Justice Stratton referred to her involvement in providing mental health services to offenders and assisting veterans in the criminal justice system as occupying “a place of growing importance in my life and I have decided to dedicate myself to them even more so, not only here in Ohio but also on a national level.

“Therefore, after a great deal of thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to pursue a different course in my life,” she continued. “My heart tells me this is the right decision. For this reason I will be tendering my resignation as Justice at the end of this year.”

Over the years, her work has resulted in many honors such as the Congressional Coalition on Adoption’s Angels Award, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Adoption Excellence Award, and an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who has served on the court with Justice Stratton for a decade, said she was sorry to see her colleague retire but grateful that her service to the citizens of Ohio will continue.

“Without a doubt, Justice Stratton is a fine judge and will be missed as a member of the court,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “I wish her nothing but success as she pursues a new calling to improve the lives of many Ohioans who need a tireless advocate.”