Early voting is nearly underway, and there are races down the ballot that can impact your day-to-day life. Judicial races receive notoriously less press than any of the local statehouse races, let alone the federal elections. Yet the judges sitting on Court of Common Pleas and Court of Appeals benches have authority over our rights and liberties. In hopes of highlighting judicial candidates, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Emanuella Groves, who is running for 8th District Court of Appeals. Her experience and dedication to upholding justice through aid and long-term support makes her a fantastic candidate for judge.
She arrived in Cleveland at 19 years old, starting her education in law at Case Western Reserve University. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to use her legal mind to help others. Not only is her long-time experience as a lawyer and judge impressive, but the substantive work she has done in those roles demonstrates her commitment to the community. Currently, she serves on the Cleveland Municipal Court.
One of her notable decisions ended the use of proof-of-payment on the RTA, ruling it unconstitutional.
“Along the Healthline, they were stopping people without there being probable cause to do so,” Groves explains. The transit police would use this policy as a means to stop individuals unnecessarily. The impacts of this ruling went beyond Cleveland, even stopping the practice from being adopted in Pittsburgh.
Groves has also started numerous programs, going above and beyond the expectations of a judge, to institutionalize best practices for aiding the community. She was ahead of the curve in addressing police-community relations, creating the Community Orientation Program.
“This program was started before the consent decree with the City of Cleveland, but I was concerned with the negative interactions between the community and the police. I thought it was important to empower the people in the City of Cleveland with the information they need to know their rights and responsibilities when dealing with the police,” Groves explains.
Throughout her career, Groves has brought creativity and expertise to the bench in order to positively impact the people that enter her courtroom.
“That’s why I create programs. I believe we can use the power of the court to impact and change people’s lives — and I know I’ve done that,” she tells me.
Groves would be an asset to the Court of Appeals should she be elected. To support her and other critical candidates down the ballot, make a plan to vote today. Visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections here to review information on voting from home, early voting, and Election Day.
Jenna Thomas is working towards her Master’s degree in Public Administration at Cleveland State University and hopes to bring her passion for systemic, purposeful change to the nonprofits and public entities in Cleveland. She is a current organizer with the Ohio Student Association advocating for more accessible and inclusive education at CSU.