Melody J. Stewart

Office: Supreme Court of Ohio

Age: 56

Residence: Cleveland, OH

Email: or


Occupation: Judge on the Ohio Court of Appeals – Eighth District

Education: Beaumont High School; B.Mus. ~ College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati; J.D. ~ Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University; Ph.D. ~ Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University; Honorary Doctor of Laws ~ Cleveland State University

Work Experience: Ohio Court of Appeals Judge; Supreme Court of Ohio sitting judge by assignment of the Chief Justice; University of Toledo College of Law ~ law professor; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law ~ law professor, assistant dean, lecturer; Case Western Reserve School of Law ~ director; Ursuline College ~ Adjunct Instructor; City of Euclid ~ Board of Planning and Zoning chair & vice-chair; City of Cleveland and City of East Cleveland ~ Assistant Director of Law; Annashae Corporation ~ Office Manager.

Affiliations: Ohio Court of Appeals Judges Association; Ohio Judicial Conference; Dwight D. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration; American Inns of Court; Ohio State Bar Association; Ohio Women’s Bar Association (founding member); Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association; Norman S. Minor Bar Association; Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association Life Member; Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity; Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity; St. Agnes-Our Lady of Fatima Parish; Mandel School, CWRU Visiting Committee; former Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Visiting Committee Member; former Board of Trustees member of the Catholic Charities Service Corp, the Cleveland BoyChoir, Beaumont School, Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association; Fairhill Partners; and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association; former volunteer Magistrate for county juvenile diversion program.

Endorsements: Ohio Fraternal Order of Police; Ohio AFL-CIO; Ohio Education Association; Ohio Association of Public School Employees; United Steelworkers; United Autoworkers; U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown to name a few.

Bar Association Ratings: Ohio State Bar Association – “Highly Recommended” with 29 out of a possible 30 points; Judge4Yourself Judicial Candidates Rating Coalition – perfect 4.0 rating; Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association – Excellent-Preferred; Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association – Excellent; Norman S. Minor Bar Association – Excellent-Preferred.

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years):

I have been a Court of Appeals Judge since 2006 responsible for hearing and ruling on appeals and original actions. I was the Court’s Administrative Judge in 2013. During my tenure, I have sat on the Ohio Supreme Court to hear cases by assignment of the Chief Justice. Additionally, I am currently the chair of the Ohio Capital Case Attorney Fee Council which is comprised of Court of Appeals Judges from various districts across the state responsible for setting the compensation rate for attorneys who are appointed to represent individuals being tried in death penalty cases; I am on the Board of Trustees for the Judicial College of the Ohio Supreme Court which provides continuing legal education for judges, judicial officers and court personnel throughout the state; and I served as the Court of Appeals representative on the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee which is a bi-partisan committee created by the General Assembly to study the state’s existing criminal statutes, with the goal of enhancing public safety and the administration of criminal justice throughout the state of Ohio. The Committee is composed of twenty four individuals with extensive experience in criminal justice, law enforcement, and public safety. I also serve on the Appellate Law and Procedure Committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference; the Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association; and served on the Supreme Court’s Judicial College Appellate Judges Curriculum Committee. I teach continuing legal education courses to judges and lawyers across the state.

2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?

I have over 30 years of diverse legal experience. I practiced law, taught law, and was published in the law all before becoming an appellate court judge. Additionally having a background in music, business management, law practice and teaching, and social science makes me a more well-rounded candidate with a stronger academic background and greater diversity of thought, intellect, and experience. I have always been involved in my local and the larger state community serving on boards and committees because I feel that work is also a part of my responsibility as an elected official. Most importantly, I am an excellent public servant and always have been. I take a great deal of pride in my work. I have worked in the private and public sectors and I work the same in both. I am efficient, effective, respectful of everyone, and am a good steward of fiscal resources.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?

I am running for the Ohio Supreme Court for several reasons. My diverse educational and professional experiences make me the stronger and better candidate for the Court. In addition to the perspective which I bring that is currently missing on the Supreme Court, I will work to help reform our judicial system to make it more efficient, more effective, more accountable, and more responsive to the people it serves. I also want to provide to the citizens of the state the same good service that I have provided to the citizens of my county over the past three decades. Finally, the Supreme Court is currently comprised of justices who all belong to the same political party. That is not a good composition for our state, particularly since, with rare exception, the Court gets to decide which cases it will hear. I think it is naive at best and insulting at worst to think that the citizens of a state as diverse as Ohio is can have confidence in the highest level of our judiciary being made up of justices who all belong to the same political party – regardless of the party. As a nominee different from the current make up of the court, my election improves the court from day one. Finally, I have had the privilege of being educated by some of the best colleges and universities our state has to offer (and our state has a lot of great colleges and universities). I was taught at a very young age that you always leave a place better off than it was when you got there and that, if you have the credentials and the ability to be part of the solution to any problem and you don’t make the effort to be part of that solution, then you are – or you become – part of the problem. I hope voters see fit to make me part of the solution.