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Evelyn Lundberg Stratton
Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, retired from the Supreme Court of
Ohio after 23 years in the judiciary to pursue criminal justice
reforms, particularly as they relate to mental health, juveniles,
and veterans.
She came to the bench by a very different route. Born to
missionary parents in Bangkok, Thailand, Stratton spent her childhood in Southeast
Asia. She attended boarding school in South Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War
and later in Malaysia, visiting America on occasion with her parents. At age 18, she
returned to America alone with only a few hundred dollars in her pocket. Working her
way through school, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University
College of Law.
She began her legal career as a trial lawyer in the courtrooms of Central Ohio. In
1989, she was the first woman to be elected Judge of the Franklin County Common
Pleas Court, where she became known as “The Velvet Hammer” for her approach to
sentencing in serious felony cases. Her success on the trial bench led to an
appointment in 1996 to the Supreme Court of Ohio, where she was elected to a third
term in 2008.
Stratton believes that the courts, in partnership with the mental health system, can affect
positive change in the lives of many defendants whose mental illness has led to
criminal activity. To that end, she formed the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory
Committee on Mental Illness & the Courts, which was composed of mental health,
law enforcement and criminal justice professionals who were dedicated to mental
health initiatives in the court system. That committee has now merged into the
Attorney General Task Force on Mental Illness and Criminal Justice, and she still serves
as co-chair along with Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Nationally, Stratton is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Judges’ Leadership
Initiative, a professional association that supports cooperative mental health
programs in the criminal justice system. Her latest focus in Ohio and nationally is on
establishing veterans courts to help those returning veterans with Post Traumatic Sress,
Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues, whose problems may lead to involvement in
the criminal justice system.
Since retiring from the bench, she works through EStratton Consulting, LLC on
criminal justice reforms, particularly focusing on engaging the judges in different states
in these reform efforts. She is also Of Counsel to a major Ohio law firm, Vorys, Sater,
Seymour and Pease LLP.2
Among her many honors are the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Angels
Award, as well as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Adoption
Excellence Award.
Additionally, in May 2008, Stratton received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a
ceremony in New York City. Established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of
Organizations, the Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to American citizens of
diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation
and the world. Ranking among the nation’s most prestigious awards, recipients are
listed in the Congressional Record.
Stratton is the wife of John A. Lundberg III, and the mother of two adult sons. She
enjoys painting, Thai cooking, and fly fishing with her husband. But surely her
most interesting accomplishment was her first-place finish in a college Stampede
Girls Goat Tying Competition — a talent she later put to good use as a trial lawyer.
2013 – Present – Principal, EStratton Consulting, LLC
2013 – Present – Of Counsel, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
1996 – 2012 – Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio
1989 – 1996 – Judge, Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Ohio
1985 – 1988 – Principal Partner, Wesp, Osterkamp & Stratton
1979 – 1985 – Associate Attorney, Hamilton, Kramer, Myers & Cheek
Juris Doctor, The Ohio State University College of Law, Columbus, Ohio, 1978
Bachelor of Arts, History, 1976; Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1998; The University of Akron,
Akron, Ohio
Honorary Doctor of Laws, Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio, 1999
Honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership, Franklin University, 2013
LeTourneau College, Longview, Texas, 1971-1973, 1974
Associate of Arts, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1973
Mission Boarding School, Dalat School, Tanah Rata, Malaysia, 19713
Supreme Court of Ohio
United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
American Bar Association
Columbus Bar Association (Board of Governors, 1984-1988, 1990-1992)
Columbus Bar Foundation (Board of Trustees, 1986-1991)
Ohio State Bar Association (Council of Delegates, 1992-1996)
Ohio State Bar Foundation (Board of Trustees, 2005-2006)
Women Lawyers of Franklin County
Author of several law review and other articles on legal issues
Lecturer for Ohio Judicial College and numerous other organizations
American Arbitration Association, 1979-1988
Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1985-1988
Columbus Defense Association, 1980-1985
Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys, 1980-1986
Ohio House of Representatives Commendation for Service, 1984
Ohio Senate Resolution for Service, 2013
American Inns of Court, 1990-1992 (President, 1991-1992)
Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association, 1989-1996
Ohio Judicial Conference, 1989-19964
Court Officers and Services, Inc. (Honorary Member, 1996-Present)
Franklin County Community Corrections Planning Board (Board of Trustees, 1992-1996)
Franklin University Criminal Justice Advisory Board (2013-Present)
Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections (OJACC) (Board of Trustees, 1995-
Supreme Court/Judicial Conference Committee on Court Security, 1993-2003 (Cochair, 1993-1999)
Advisory Committee on Specialized Dockets, Ohio Supreme Court (Certificate of
Recognition, 2012)
Crisis Intervention Team (Award, 2006)
Central Ohio Crime Stoppers (Appreciation Award, 2002)
Cleveland Heights Fraternal Order of Police (Judicial Excellence Award, 1996)
Columbus Bar Association/Foundation (Judicial Pro Bono Award, 2012)
Ohio Bail Agents Association (Appreciation Award, 2008)
International Community Corrections Association (Judicial Award, 2010)
Ohio Association for Court Administration (Certificate of Appreciation, 2012)
Ohio Bailiffs and Court Officers Association (Outstanding Achievement Award, 2000;
Certificate of Recognition, 2012)
Ohio Community Corrections Association (President’s Award, 2003)
Ohio Community Corrections Organization (C.J. McLin Award, 1998)
Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections (James Wichtman Award, 2006)
Ohio Judicial Conference (Thinking Outside the Box Award for Court Security Project,
United States Marshals Service (Certification of Appreciation For Ohio Court Security
Project, 1997)
Women’s Political Caucus, Mahoning Valley (Judicial Excellence Award, 2008)
Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law at Capital University (Advisory Board, 1998-2001)
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (Board of Trustees, 1996-2008)
League Against Child Abuse (Women’s Board, 1989-1994)5
National Center for State Courts (Expedited Adoption Committee, Chair, 2000-2003)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (The Permanency Planning for
Children Committee, 1996-1999)
National Judicial College (Termination and Adoption Planning Committee, 1996)
Congressional Coalition on Adoption (Angels in Adoption Award, 2001)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Adoption Excellence Award, 2001)
St. Joseph’s Orphanage (Scholar of Life Award, 1998)
Attorney General Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness (Co-Chair with
Attorney General, 2012-Present)
Corporation for Supportive Housing (National Board of Trustees, 2005-2013)
National Judges’ Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative (JLI) (2004-Present,
Co-Chair, 2004-2008)
Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts (Chair, 2001-
Delaware Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Service Board (Helping Hands Award, 2006)
Fred Frese Advocacy Award, 2004
Harding-Evans Foundation (Academy for Leadership Award, 2005)
Columbus Area, Inc. (Mental Health Advocate Award, Government Sector, 2011)
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Ohio Chapter (Mental Health Champion Award, 2002)
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (Distinguished Service Award, 2004)
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Geauga County (Certificate of Appreciation, 2008)
National Judges’ Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative (JLI) (Special
Recognition, 2008)
Nord Center (Distinguished Service Award, 2003)
Ohio Advocates for Mental Health (Elected Official of the Year, 2002; National Mental
Health Education/Advocacy Award, 2004)
Mental Health Advocates Award (2011)
Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (President’s Award, 2008)
Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (Partners in6
Justice Angel Award, 2004)
Ohio Department of Mental Health (Award of Appreciation, 2004)
Ohio Psychiatric Society of Central Ohio (Flame Award for Service in Diversion of
Patients from Court to Care, 2007)
Ohio Psychological Association (Award of Excellence, 2012)
Southeast Inc. (“Recovery” Award, 2003)
Commonwealth of Kentucky (Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, 2010)
Tri County Board (Nelson Advocacy Award, 2006)
Resurrecting Lives Foundation (Vice Chair, 2011-Present)
Veterans Pro Bono Project, now Ohio Military and Veterans Legal Assistant Project
Veterans WrapAround Project (Chair, 2010-Present)
Veterans in the Courts Initiative (Chair, 2009-Present)
AMVETS Past State Department Commanders’ Civil Servant of the Year Award, 2013
Ohio National Guard (Certificate of Appreciation, 2011)
Ohio State Association of Veterans’ Service Commissions (Outstanding Service Award,
Ohio Military Reserve Association (Outstanding Service Award, 2008)
The Psychiatric Society of Central Ohio (Award for Treatment Centered Courts for
Veterans, 2010)
Vietnam Veterans of America, Buckeye State Council (Veterans Advocacy Award, 2010)
ArtSafe Foundation/Memorial To Our Lost Children (Board of Trustees, 1997-2003; Advisory
Council, 2003-Present)
Columbus Council on World Affairs (Board of Trustees, 1990-1999; Honorary Trustee,
Prevent Blindness Ohio, 1988-2003 (Chairman of the Board of Trustees, 1999-2001;
Honorary Trustee, 2004-Present)7
ArtSafe (Service Award, 2003)
Council of State Governments (Henry Toll Fellow, 2010)
Prevent Blindness America (Award for Volunteer Leadership, 2000)
Prevent Blindness Ohio (People of Vision Award, 2005)
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (Alumni Public Service Award, 2002)
The Ohio State Bar Foundation (Public or Government Service Award, 2004)
The University of Akron (Alumni Honor Award, 2000)
Justice Stratton Award for Court Security, established in 2004 and awarded yearly
Justice Evelyn Stratton CIT Champion of the Year, established in 2012 and awarded yearly
National Ethnic Coalition Organization (Ellis Island Medal of Honor, 2008)
Beta Sigma Phi (Lady of the Year Award, 2007)
LeTourneau Stampede (Girls Goat Tying, 1st Place, 1972)
Outstanding Young Women of America (1983, 1985)
American Biographical Institute, Woman of the Year (1992)
Who’s Who in American Law (5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11thEditions)
Franklin Church Faith and Freedom Appreciation Award (2013)

Stratton, Sprechen sie Deutsch?, The Daily Reporter, Columbus Bar Association
Supplement (May 24, 1991)
Stratton, The Myth of the Plea Bargain, Bar Briefs (1992).
Stratton, Letters from Prison, The Daily Reporter, Columbus Bar Association Supplement
(Mar. 1992).
Stratton, What the Best Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Do: Viewpoint From the Bench, Ohio Trial (Spring
1992) 28.
Stratton, Public Defender- The Unsung Hero, The OACDL Vindicator 9 (Summer 1992).
Stratton, Volunteerism is Alive and Well, Bar Briefs (Dec. 1993) 14.8
Stratton, Civil Law and Procedure Committee, For the Record (May/June 1994).
Stratton, Victims You Treat: The Aftermath in Court, An Explanation for the Medical
Profession, Bar Briefs (Mar. 1995).
Stratton, Courts Are Not Truly Open Unless They Are Also Secure, Bar Briefs (Mar. 1995).
Stratton, Practical Tips for Trial Judges, The Whole Truth, Vol. 2, Issue 1 (Winter 1998) 5.
Stratton, Contrasts, 61 Albany L.Rev. 1573 (1998).
Stratton, Striking A Balance: The Robinette Case, Ohio Police, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Summer
1998) 34.
Stratton, Expediting the Adoption Process at the Appellate Level, 28 Cap.U.L.Rev. 121
Stratton, Justice Mom and Her Flowers, Success Briefs for Lawyers: Inspirational Insights
on How to Succeed at Law and Life (2001) 7.
Stratton, Blough, and Hawk, Solutions for the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System,
American Jails (Jan./Feb. 2004).
Stratton, Solutions for the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System: A Symposium
Introduction, 32 Cap.U.L.Rev. 901 (2004).
Stratton, Rediscovering Recovery, NAMI Ohio’s News Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring
2007) 4.
Stratton and Hawk, Attorney Discipline and Mental Health Issues: A View from the
Bench, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal (Nov. 2011) 30.
Stratton and Lagarce, Restoring Honor: Inside Veterans’ Courts, Ohio Lawyer, Vol. 26, No.
2 (Mar./Apr. 2012) 9.
Stratton and Lagarce, Veterans WrapAround Project, Ohio Lawyer, Vol. 26, No. 6 (Nov./Dec.
2012) 24.
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand (parents were American Missionaries)
Family: Husband, John A. Lundberg, III; two adult sons
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
52 E. Gay Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: (614) 464-8210
Email: elstratton@vorys.com