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Passing of Judge Thomas D. Lambros

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Patricia A. Gaughan, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today the passing of Judge Thomas D. Lambros of Ashtabula, Ohio, who served on that court in Cleveland for more than twenty-eight years.  Judge Lambros was appointed to the District Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 and served as Chief Judge from 1990 until his retirement in 1995. 

After receiving his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall Law School, Judge Lambros served in the U.S. Army for two years.  In 1960, he was elected to the Court of Common Pleas for the State of Ohio in Ashtabula County where he served until his appointment to the federal bench.   Of all his federal court duties, Judge Lambros most cherished naturalizing new American citizens.  He administered the oath of citizenship to more than 40,000 immigrants from all over the world in ceremonies not only in the courtroom, but also at schools, public squares, and even in the living rooms of the disabled and elderly.  For this he earned the Ellis Island Medal of Honor awarded to outstanding sons and daughters of immigrants.

Throughout his federal career, Judge Lambros was at the forefront of judicial procedural reform.   In 1985, Judge Lambros was commended for the creation and development of the Summary Jury Trial by U.S. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.  In 1990, the procedure received formal statutory recognition by Congress in the Civil Judicial Reform Act.

Judge Lambros received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments including the American Judicature Society’s Herbert Harley Award for individuals who make outstanding efforts and contributions that substantially change and improve the administration of justice in their respective states.  He also received the Center for Public Resources’ award for the Most Outstanding Achievement in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Chief Judge Gaughan stated, “Judge Lambros was a giant in the legal community.  His influence and leadership were far-reaching.  He was an epitome of what a judge should be – fair, empathetic, kind, innovative, and principled.  He will be missed.”

The flag will be flown at half staff at all courthouses in the Northern District of Ohio for two days, this Thursday and Friday.  The United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio extends to the 40 northernmost counties of the state and holds court in Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown.