Evelyn Lundberg Stratton
Born to missionary parents in Bangkok, Thailand, Justice 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.
Justice Stratton announced she would retire at the end of 2012, with three years remaining on her term. In her resignation letter, Justice Stratton referred to her involvement in providing mental health services to offenders and assisting veterans in the criminal justice system as occupying "a place of growing importance in my life and I have decided to dedicate myself to them even more so, not only here in Ohio, but also on a national level."
Following her tenure on the Supreme Court, she joined the Columbus office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP, where she counsels clients on health care, litigation, and appellate work.
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.
Justice Stratton also 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 is composed of mental health, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals who are dedicated to mental health initiatives in the court system.
Nationally, Justice Stratton is 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 PTSD and other issues, whose problems may lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.
Among her many honors are the Congressional Coalition on Adoption's Angels Award, as well as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Adoption Excellence Award.
Additionally, in May 2008, Justice 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.
Justice 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.
147th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Jan 1, 1996
to Jan 1, 2013