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 then 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 again elected to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals.
Judge O’Toole’s has decided over 2000 cases, 72 murders and authored over 700 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, 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.
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 and served as a member of Ohio Criminal Sentencing 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 is a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute.
The 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 appellate and 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 Housing Advocates Inc. In 1998 she opened her own law firm, focusing in criminal, civil and family law 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, Geauga County, Trumbull County, Ashtabula County and Portage 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 enjoys angling, and lives on the Grand River with her husband, a marine veteran and NRA instructor. She is the mother of three grown children a rescue dog and two rescue cats. She is licensed to carry a concealed weapon and enjoys target shooting.