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Anne Walton Keller

For Judge of the Shaker Heights Municipal Court
Unexpired Term Ending 12/31/2023

*Top Vote-Getter in General Election

Candidate Details

  • Residence
    University Heights
  • Email
  • Website
  • Age
  • Occupation
    Magistrate, Shaker Heights Municipal Court
  • Education
    J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Work Experience
    2010 to 2014, Associate Attorney at Ian N. Friedman & Associates, L.L.C.; 2014 to 2016, Associate Attorney at McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., L.P.A.; 2016 to present, Magistrate, Shaker Heights Municipal Court, 2016 to present, Acting Judge, Shaker Heights Municipal Court.
  • Family
    Married with three children.
  • Affiliations
    Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Executive Committee Member and Board of Directors; William K. Thomas American Inn of Court Executive Committee Member; Shaker Heights Democratic Club; Gesu Parish Finance Council Member
  • Endorsements
    Shaker Heights Democratic Club; Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council; Local 38, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; North Shore AFL-CIO; Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #57; The editorial board of The Plain Dealer and
  • Bar Association Ratings
    Asian American Bar Association of Ohio - Excellent; Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association - Excellent; Norman S. Minor Bar Association - Excellent; Ohio Women's Bar Association - Excellent;

Question 1

List your judicial experience (courts and years)

From July, 2016 to present, I have served as a Magistrate and Acting Judge in the Shaker Heights Municipal Court. During that period I have heard thousands of cases, including: • Criminal arraignments, pretrials, motion hearings, plea and sentencing hearings and bench trials. The criminal cases I have heard include, without limitation, domestic violence, assault, theft, drug possession, criminal damaging and menacing. I have worked with the Cuyahoga County Domestic Violence Task Force and referred cases to the Cleveland Municipal Court's Mental Health and Substance Abuse dockets. • Traffic cases, including operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), driving under suspension (DUS), leaving the scene of an accident, and all other types of moving violations. • Housing violation cases, which in some instances have allowed me to work with cities in the Court's jurisdiction and homeowners to ensure timely repairs and facilitate applications for available monetary assistance. • Landlord/tenant cases, in partnership with the Legal Aid Society in an effort to help tenants find legal assistance, guidance and grant funds. • Small claims cases, civil motion hearings and civil default hearings. • I have worked on procedures including helping the court transition to non-monetary bond in most cases and resource sharing with other local courts, mental health agencies and the Journey Center for Safety and Healing. • I have taught continuing legal education seminars on topics including OVI, digital evidence and criminal law to police and lawyers. I have also taught members of the Court staff about license reinstatement law. • I worked to develop procedures and ways to keep lawyers, staff and visitors safe during Covid 19 through remote hearings. • I was responsible for hiring, training and supervising law clerks, who worked for the court as interns and/or though federal work study programs. • I assisted in the preparation of the Court's budget. • I researched, applied for and obtained a grant for technological updates. • I researched, applied for and obtained a grant to enable the court to fashion sentences that are alternatives to jail, through intensive probation tools like house arrest, alcohol monitoring and GPS monitoring.

Question 2

What non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?

During law school and after becoming licensed to practice law I worked at a criminal defense law firm, Ian N. Friedman & Associates, L.L.C. As a criminal defense attorney, I represented people charged with a wide range of crimes, from misdemeanor traffic and criminal offenses to felony offenses. I appeared in court almost every day, frequently in multiple courts on the same day. Approximately half of my criminal defense practice was in municipal courts all over Ohio. I have represented hundreds of people in municipal courts. I also litigated many trials and suppression hearings in municipal court. I later joined the law firm of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., L.P.A., where I gained civil litigation experience while continuing my criminal defense practice. Litigation experience is critical to being a good trial court judge. I have extensive experience litigating jury trials, suppression hearings and more routine hearings in common pleas municipal courts. I am well versed in the law and the procedures which apply in municipal courts. I spent years studying those laws, practicing law, and presiding over cases in municipal courts. I received ratings of “Excellent” from every bar association that participated in the ratings. Those ratings evidence the great faith my colleagues have in my ability to excel as a judge. My experience as a practicing attorney, magistrate and acting judge helped form their confidence in me.

Question 3

Why are you running for this particular court seat?

My law practice in criminal defense and civil litigation and my experience as a Shaker Court Magistrate and Acting Judge for the past five years have prepared me to excel as a municipal court judge. I understand the importance of treating people who appear before a court, including parties, counsel, victims, those with mental illness or addiction, with dignity, respect and fairness. All people deserve equal access to counsel, social resources, treatment and the ability to succeed. As Judge, I want to bring those concepts to life in a meaningful way. In doing so I will bring honor to like-minded jurists who came before me, and set an example for those who follow. More importantly, I want the people whose lives I affect by my decisions to remember the process as one filled with integrity, impartiality and good judgment. My demonstrated skill and ability will allow me to implement my plans to have a public defender present during court dockets, create a dedicated domestic violence docket, improve court technology (including instituting a fully functioning online docket) and continue to make changes including bail reform, to ensure equal treatment for all.