Kestra Smith

KestraContributed by Kestra Smith

After leaving law school, I served as law clerk for the honorable Ann Marie Tracey at the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. In that position, I met the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who was then Cuyahoga County’s Prosecuting Attorney. Subsequently, I accepted a position as one of Prosecutor Jones’ 200 Assistants, and I’ve had the privilege of maintaining the position. As a career Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, I’ve worked for three different elected officials. I have handled Preliminary Hearings, worked in the Child Support Enforcement Unit, the Juvenile Justice Unit, the General Felony Unit, and the Major Trial Unit. I am an experienced litigator, having tried, successfully, all levels of felonies, including capital murder, and have to my credit numerous successful appeals.

In 2002, I was promoted into office management. In that capacity, I have served as Director of the Office’s Early Intervention Program (a first-offender drug intervention program), taught at the Cleveland Police Academy, managed the Juvenile Justice Unit, the General Felony Unit, and my current assignment, the Domestic Relations Family Support Enforcement/Interstate Unit. I am a longstanding member both of the Office’s Capital Review Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Professionally, there have been many special moments, but one in particular was serving on and helping implement the nation’s first Fugitive Safe Surrender….

…The goal was to make the community safer by reducing the risk to law enforcement officers, who pursue fugitives, the neighborhoods in which fugitives hide, to the fugitives themselves. The approach allowed fugitives to turn themselves in, in a comfortable atmosphere—a church, temporarily turned into a courtroom. The effort was collaborative and successful, with many partners. In the 4-day effort, 850 persons turned themselves in, with 340 felony cases processed, including high-level felonies.

When it’s all said and done, I’m glad I did law school!

Personally, I am single—again—and that’s subject to change. I don’t have children—and that’s probably not subject to change!! My dad and I live together. He’s now 96, and I’m grateful for every day he’s still here with our family. My 3 siblings all have children—and 1 even has grandchildren—and that’s an adventure!

I volunteer at a homeless shelter. I’m involved with my neighborhood and serve the community through my church. I enjoy excellent health, and remain high-energy. In the summer, I cycle 40 – 50+ miles/week. I still enjoy learning about other cultures through firsthand experience. Last year I spent time with Israelis in Israel.

I live a privileged life. I am so very grateful to God, my Source, Who has provided me with life, and then more rich opportunities than is possible to express here.

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