Melody Stewart has over 30 years of legal experience – ranging from civil litigation practice and teaching students at several Ohio law schools to being an appellate court judge and sitting by assignment on the Ohio Supreme Court.
For more than 11 years, she has served on the Ohio Court of Appeals – Eighth District, earning reelection twice due to her reputation as a tough, but insightful and fair jurist on the appellate court. She is known for being well-prepared to adjudicate the complex civil and criminal matters that come before the court. Melody served as the court’s administrative judge in 2013, overseeing court employees, implementing improvements to the court’s physical space and its operations, and ensuring a professional work place.
A proponent of lifelong learning, Melody earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, and a Ph.D. from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University as a Mandel Leadership Fellow. Prior to being elected to the Court of Appeals in 2006, Melody worked as an assistant dean at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she also taught as a lecturer and an adjunct instructor before joining the full-time faculty. She taught legal research, writing, and advocacy; criminal law; ethics and professional responsibility; and criminal procedure. She was also a member of the faculty at the University of Toledo College of Law, taught at Ursuline College, and has served as an administrator at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.
Melody has spent countless hours serving various organizations and the community through boards and committees of civic, educational, and professional entities such as the Board of Planning and Zoning for the City of Euclid, a County Community Juvenile Diversion Program, college visiting committees, and the Catholic Charities Service Corporation. The day to day work of the court notwithstanding, Judge Stewart continues the reach of her public service as a member of the board of trustees of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Judicial College, as Chair of the Ohio Capital Case Attorney Fee Council, and she recently completed serving on the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee.
Melody is admitted to the practice of law in the state and federal courts in Ohio, in the District of Columbia, and before the United States Supreme Court. She is a candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court this year – 2018, and would be the first African-American female elected to the state’s highest court.