Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, of the Supreme Court of Ohio, came to the bench by a very different route.
Born to missionary parents in Bangkok, Thailand, she spent her childhood in Southeast Asia at the height of the Vietnam War. At age 18, she returned to America alone, with only a few hundred dollars in her pocket. In 1989, she became the first woman to be elected judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. It was there that she earned her reputation as “The Velvet Hammer” for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases. Her work on the trial bench lead to an appointment in 1996 to the Supreme Court of Ohio; she was elected to a second term in 2002.
Justice Stratton’s efforts in the community and her commitment to family have led to major changes in adoption law and significant mental health reforms in the courts both in Ohio and nationally. Justice Stratton founded The Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness in the Courts. She is national co-chair of both The Judges’ Leadership Initiative and the Returning Home Advisory Commission.
She is also a wife and a mother who enjoys painting, Thai cooking, and fly fishing with her husband.