City Mourns Sudden Loss of Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka

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The City of Cleveland is mourning the sudden passing of Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka.  He died January 21 at his home.  Pianka was 65.  Lawyers, journalists, fellow jurists and those he encountered in his court -- well most of them, but more on that later -- will tell you what an honest, compassionate and fair judge he was and, off the bench, what a genuinely good human being. He cared about his city, his neighborhood, and other people.

His loss is felt deeply particularly among those closest to him and those who worked with him in his twenty-plus years as the Housing Court judge. He served for ten years before that on the Cleveland City Council. His work in the housing court, particularly as the subprime lending crisis reached a head and foreclosures began to destroy entire Cleveland neighborhoods, earned him a national reputation for judicial creativity. Banks, speculators and other bad actors would not get a free pass if they intended to let foreclosed properties in Cleveland rot and contaminated healthy homes nearby.


  • Angela Shuckahosee, Director of Resident Advocacy at Millennia Housing Management

  • Jim Rokakis, Vice President, Western Reserve Land Conservancy; Director, Thriving Communities Institute

  • Anthony Brancatelli, Ward 12, Cleveland City Council  

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