Justice Michael P. Donnelly has been a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio since 2019. In this video, he discusses his proposal for plea agreement reform. Plea agreements and denial of motions to withdraw pleas are often the subject of an appeal or post conviction relief proceeding. The public is also hearing more about the need for criminal justice reform efforts nationwide. Justice Donnelly has been promoting plea agreement reform efforts for several years while sitting as a trial court judge. His law journal article on the subject was published in 2020 by the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. The article was also entitled: “Truth or Consequences: Making the Case for Transparency and Reform in the Plea Negotiation Process” can be found at:
His most recent article on the subject can be found at:


Justice Donnelley is a graduate of St. Ignatius High School and John Carroll both located in Cleveland, and received his Juris Doctor Degree from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. In 1992, he was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court, he served as a trial court judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, General Division for 14 years from 2005 to 2018.
Before erving as a member of the judiciary, Justice Donnelly was an assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor from 1992 until 1997. He then went on to practice civil litigation for seven years, representing plaintiffs and injured workers in asbestos litigation, personal injury lawsuits, and workers’ compensation claims.
He is the proud recipient of the Honorable William K. Thomas Professionalism Award from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and also received the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA) 2017 Public Service Award.
He and and his wife, Nancy reside in Cleveland Heights. They have two children.

Note to Viewers: This video is made available to promote education and discussion on issues related to state intermediate courts of appeal.  The views expressed in the video, however, are strictly those of the Presenter and do not reflect any opinion of the Council or its members on any issue.