Judge Michael John Ryan
Judge Michael John Ryan was elected to the Eighth District Court of Appeals on November 8, 2022, to serve out the remainder of the term of the late Judge Larry A. Jones Sr., who had been both a friend and mentor to Judge Ryan throughout Judge Ryan’s legal and judicial career.
Prior to being elected to the court of appeals, Judge Ryan served as a judge in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas, Juvenile Division for nearly ten years and a judge with Cleveland Municipal Court for seven years. At Cleveland Municipal Court, he was a staunch advocate for Get on Track, a program to help those who did not complete high school and were convicted of misdemeanors earn a G.E.D. Judge Ryan also served as one of the initial judges for the Cleveland Municipal Court Dedicated Domestic Violence Docket. Judge Ryan holds the distinction of being the youngest African American male to be elected to the Cleveland Municipal Court’s history as well as the youngest and second African American male in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division.
Judge Ryan began his legal career as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Cleveland and Administrator for the City of Cleveland Department of Public Safety. Judge Ryan later joined Forbes, Fields and Associates, Co., as an attorney specializing in criminal defense and arbitration. From there, he became a magistrate for the Cleveland Municipal Court, where he served for five years and gained invaluable experience on the bench prior to running for office.
Judge Ryan is currently a trustee for St. Edward High School, he recently served as a trustee and chairman for Sisters of Charity Foundation and is now serving as Vice Chairperson of Step Forward’s Board of Directors. Through the Sisters of Charity Foundation, Judge Ryan was instrumental in the creation of “A Place 4 Me” Initiative to prevent homelessness among young adults who had aged out of the foster care system. He also worked with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which focuses on strengthening families and ensuring access to opportunity for children. Judge Ryan also served on the Board of Trustees for the Literary Cooperative of Greater Cleveland and continues to serve as a mock trial judge for the Cleveland Municipal Court and the Cleveland Municipal School District. He also volunteers his time speaking with young people about issues surrounding domestic violence, social justice and the legal system and serves as a deacon at his church.
Judge Ryan is also an author. In 2015, he self-published his memoir, “The Least Likely: From the Housing Projects to the Courthouse."
Judge Ryan received his B.A. in English from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Cleveland State University College of Law. He is a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School.
Judge Ryan is married, and he and his wife have one son and one daughter who are both married.