Judge Colleen O'Toole
Colleen Mary O’Toole was first elected to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals in 2004. Judge O’Toole left the Eleventh District at the end of her term in February 2011. Judge O’Toole founded On Demand Interpretation Services, LLC, an entrepreneurial start up that provides certified interpretation in 170 languages and American sign-language to public entities and their support networks. In 2012 Judge O’Toole was re-elected to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals.
Judge O’Toole’s has decided over 1500 cases 72 murders and authored over 500 opinions. The Eleventh District Court of Appeals serves the counties of Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage and Trumbull. She is a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference and the Courts of Appeals Judges Association. She established a case management system which reduced backlog by 60% in the court of appeals. She advocated for efficiency and increased access to pro se litigants. She is dedicated to making sure that the courts remain a level playing-field for all parties. She is concerned about special interest groups that try to influence access to justice, often at the expense of the litigants or the public.
During her tenure on the bench, Judge O’Toole has served as a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference, serving on the Community Corrections, Court Administration, Court Technology and Criminal Law & Procedure committees. In addition, she served as a member of the subcommittee for Court Reporting and Transcripts. She was integral member of these committees and assisted in drafting various recommendations that were adopted in the legislative platform of the conference.
Judge O’Toole testified on the positions of the Ohio Judicial Conference before the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee and participated in many legislative conferences advocating the positions of the conference before legislators. She was a member of Library of Reasoned Orders Committee. She was appointed by late Chief Justice Moyer as a member of Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission and is currently serving in an advisory capacity to that commission. This commission is a bipartisan statutory advisory body charged with reviewing the criminal justice system and recommending improvements and changes to the Ohio legislature. Prior to taking the bench she advised, advocated, and consulted on a myriad of local and state initiatives. She also served as a member of the Criminal Law Committee for the Ohio State Bar Association, and a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute.
Late Chief Justice Moyer appointed her to serve as a visiting judge on the Ohio Supreme Court death penalty appeal of State v. White, 118 Ohio St.3d, 2008-Ohio-1623, 885 N.E. 2nd 905.
Admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1991, Judge O’Toole initially practiced law and interned in the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office in the major trial division. She then worked with the National Interstate Company in Cleveland as a Litigation Manager. From 1996 to 1998, she was associated with the Cleveland law firm of Kramer and Nierman, LPA and the Housing Advocates Inc. In 1998 she opened her own law firm, focusing in criminal, civil and juvenile litigation in state and federal courts. Judge O’Toole has extensive experience in civil, criminal, family law litigation, and appeals.
Judge O’Toole is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. She has held memberships in the American, Ohio, Cleveland, Lake County and Geauga County Bar Associations and has been a member of the Cuyahoga County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She was an adjunct professor at John Carroll University, and presently serves as one for Kent State University. She is a trained mediator, having completed training offered by the Ohio commission on dispute resolution and conflict management. She was chairman of the Highland Heights Board of Zoning Appeals.
Judge O’Toole is an avid sportsperson. She presently is on the advisory committee of The Western Reserve Land Conservancy. She enjoys angling, and lives on the Grand River with her husband, a marine veteran and NRA instructor, their three children one of whom is a foster child and their dog, Lucky O’Toole. She is licensed to carry a concealed weapon and enjoys target shooting.