Judge John P. O'Donnell, is a Lake County Court of Common Pleas Judge. After graduation from law school John went to work as an Assistant Lake County Public Defender under Lake County Public Defender R. Paul LaPlante. While there, John had unique opportunity to immediately be able to engage in jury trials in both the Willoughby and Painesville Municipal Courts. This period of employment with the Public Defender allowed John to gain valuable insight and experience into the jury trial process which would serve to be invaluable in future years.
After leaving the Public Defender’s Office, John briefly worked for Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney John T. Corrigan where he practiced in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. After the election of Steven C. LaTourette as Lake County Prosecuting Attorney, John was offered employment as an Assistant Prosecutor commencing in January, 1989. During his time at the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office (January, 1989 through August, 1991) John was assigned to prosecute felony criminal cases in the then three Courts of Common Pleas in Lake County. During that time, he conducted in excess of thirty criminal jury trials including three murder cases where convictions were obtained.
In September, 1991 John left the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office to accept an offer with the Cleveland law firm of Gibson, Harkins & Brelo, later re-named Gibson, Brelo, and Ziccarelli & Martello. While employed at Gibson, John practiced in the areas of Civil Law, Domestic Relations Law, Juvenile Law, Business Law and Criminal Law, appearing frequently in Cuyahoga and Lake Counties as well as Medina County, Summit County, Portage County, Trumbull County, Geauga County and Ashtabula County. Joseph Gibson, a retired Lake County Common Pleas Judge, was a partner in that firm.
In April, 1996 John left the Gibson law firm and moved his office to Painesville, Ohio with his partner Jim Lyons. At Lyons & O’Donnell, he continued to practice in the same areas of law, however, a majority of his practice was then concentrated in the Common Pleas Court and Municipal Courts in Lake County.
From January, 2004 through July, 2008 John served as the Prosecutor for Grand River Village. In that capacity, he was responsible for prosecution of all misdemeanor cases in the Grand River Village Mayor’s Court and for all Grand River misdemeanor and felony cases in the Painesville Municipal Court.
In August, 2008 John opened up a solo practice with an office in the City of Willoughby where he continued to practice in the same areas of law almost exclusively in the Common Pleas and Municipal Courts of Lake County.
Throughout his time in private practice, John was appointed by Lake County Prosecuting Attorney LaTourette and subsequently Lake County Prosecuting Attorney Charles E. Coulson as Special Prosecuting Attorney in cases where the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney had legal conflicts in criminal cases. In such matters, John acted independently of the Lake County Prosecutor handling in excess of sixty criminal cases to conclusion including several jury trials.
From May, 1995 through October, 2011 John was the legal representative to the Lake County ADAMHS Board handling involuntary commitment hearings which took place in Lake County Probate Court and several other Probate Courts through Northeast Ohio.
In November 2014 John was elected to his first term on the Lake County Common Pleas Court for the term commencing January 5, 2015.