Math can be a difficult subject. At least it is for me most of the time.
I am no Pythagoras but I can confirm that the odds of three Cuyahoga County Judges passing away over the course of nine days would be mathematically improbable.
Oh, and it happened right after a mandatory vaccine mandate was passed.
Cleveland 19 News has been tracking this story:
Judge Jones served on the bench there since 2009, more than 12 years.
He also held a seat as a Cleveland Municipal Court judge for 21 years.
Jones worked as an assistant prosecutor and councilperson before becoming a judge, according to a news release from the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals.
Jones is the third Cuyahoga County judge to pass away in the last two weeks.
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge Joseph Russo died on Oct. 2 at 59 years old.
Nancy McDonnell, the first female Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge, died on Sept. 28.
What makes this story all the more compelling is these deaths came only weeks after a controversial mandate was handed down by the same Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
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WKYC on the mandate:
“…the vote was done by a majority and all employees, excluding those with medical or religious exemptions, will be required to get the shot…”
“…This vote was taken with a collaborative effort by the Administrative Judges of the Court of Appeals and the four divisions of the Common Pleas Court: General Court, Probate Court, Domestic Relations Court, and Juvenile Court…”
“…The judges of each division said that as public servants, they have an obligation to protect the health and safety of those who have to come into their courtroom, especially as the delta variant spreads rapidly in the U.S…”
“We are public servants. When people come to the Justice Center, many of them do so because they are required to appear in our buildings. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have followed CDC guidance and guidance from the state and county Boards of Health. On this issue, it is no different. We can protect our employees and the community we serve by being vaccinated,” adds Judge Sheehan, who resides over the General Division.
“We believe in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and that this decision protects the health of our employees and the community we serve,” says Probate Court Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo.”
Sadly, as Cleveland 19 reported, the deaths of both Judge Jones and Judge Russo were said to be “unexpected.”
An earlier article from the outlet did not state a specific cause of death for Judge McDonnell. However it did provide an interesting tidbit into what Judge McDonnell’s role with the court was at the time:
“Judge McDonnell was a trailblazer, serving as our Court’s first female Administrative and Presiding Judge from 2006-2009. Her nearly 25 years on the Bench were distinguished, and she brought compassion and caring to her role as a Judge,” the court said.
“…McDonnell most recently presided over the Cuyahoga County Drug Court.”
A separate local outlet in Cleveland mentions that Judge McDowell perhaps had been battling long term health issues:
The Ohio Supreme Court will appoint a visiting Judge to preside over Judge Russo’s docket until a replacement is appointed by Ohio Governor Michael DeWine.
Russo’s death comes just days after the death of longtime Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell. McDonnell died Tuesday at age 62 after battling with some health issues for some time.
We may never know but the timing of these unfortunate deaths are incredibly bizarre.