Cleveland Metro Bar Honors 103-Year-Old Former Judge
The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association bestowed its President’s Award on Ohio’s oldest living retired judge today at the bar’s annual meeting and inaugural luncheon.
Each year, the outgoing president identifies one or more individuals for exceptional service to the bar and community. Anne Owings Ford, the bar’s outgoing president, selected former Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Jean Murrell Capers as this year’s recipient. Judge Capers was honored for her unceasing advocacy for the unheard in the community and her tireless devotion to the cause of justice and the law.
At 103, Judge Capers has spent nearly 70 years as a lawyer, city council member, and judge, serving the greater Cleveland community every step of the way. Judge Capers has always followed the precepts of her parents laid down almost a century ago: get an education; do your best; serve your community.
Judge Capers began her professional life as a teacher, having attended Western Reserve University on athletic and academic scholarships. She worried that she was not doing all she could to help the people in her community. She enrolled in law school, graduated from then-Cleveland Law School, and passed the bar in 1945. Serving first as an assistant police prosecutor and then on city council, she remained at the heart of Cleveland government service for over a decade. An unsuccessful bid for Cleveland mayor brought Judge Capers to the attention of then-Gov. James Rhodes. He appointed her in 1977 to the municipal court where she served until her retirement in 1986.
Judge Capers has continued being active in the community and in the private practice of law ever since, focusing primarily on issues of elder law. She has said, “The elderly are still believing 98 percent of what they’re told, and 96 percent of what they are told is not true.”