Judge Robert J. Patton was appointed to serve on the Eleventh District Court of Appeals on May 19, 2023, to begin a term commencing on June 5, 2023. Prior to his appointment, Judge Patton served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland from 2006 until 2023. Judge Patton served as Chief of the Violent Crimes Unit from 2017 until 2022 where he was responsible for supervising the prosecution of federal violent crimes and firearms cases. In 2022, Judge Patton was named Senior Litigation Counsel focused on the prosecution of federal criminal tax matters investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division.
Judge Patton successfully tried numerous federal cases concentrating on white-collar matters, including bribery, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, car-jacking, and Hobbs Act violations. These cases involved collaborating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division; the United States Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Department of Justice – Office of Inspector General, and Explosives; the United States Secret Service; and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Notably, Judge Patton obtained guilty verdicts in the first Cuyahoga County federal public corruption case trial involving construction bid contracts at Metro-General Hospital and a jury trial of members of the Heartless Felons street gang who committed a series of car-jackings in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood during the summer of 2015. Judge Patton also successfully prosecuted a Cleveland Police Officer for cocaine trafficking after completing a wire-tap investigation. On appeal, these matters were affirmed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
In 2013, Judge Patton received the United States Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his role in prosecuting the Cuyahoga County public corruption cases and the Internal Revenue Service’s Excellence Award. In 2017, the United States Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Bronze Medal for Commendable Service to Judge Patton. The United States Attorney’s Office also named Judge Patton its Advocate of the Month and Special Act Award recipient on multiple occasions. The Executive Office for United States Attorneys appointed Judge Patton to serve as Special Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan to investigate public corruption, bank fraud, and threats against Assistant United States Attorneys.
Prior to his tenure with the United States Department of Justice, Judge Patton was an Assistant Prosecutor for the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office where he was lead counsel on over 45 jury trials. He focused on white-collar crimes, racketeering influenced corrupt organization (RICO), money laundering, sex crimes, vehicular homicides, and attempted murders.
Upon graduating from Cleveland State University’s College of Law, Judge Patton was a Judicial Law Clerk to Judge Paul H. Mitrovich of the Lake County Common Pleas Court with the primary responsibility of managing the Court’s civil docket.
Until his resignation on May 31, 2023, Judge Patton was President of Council for the City of Willowick for over 10 years. Previously, he was a Member of Council for Ward 3 from 2005 until 2013. Judge Patton was elected to five consecutive full terms to the City of Willowick’s City Council.
Judge Patton earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Cleveland State University in 1990, his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Cleveland State University in 1993, and Juris Doctorate from Cleveland State University’s College of Law in 1996. While in law school, Judge Patton was appointed to the Moot Court Board of Governors and competed on the National Moot Court team winning awards for Best Ohio Team and Best Respondent’s Brief. In 1986, Judge Patton graduated from Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland.
Judge Patton has been admitted to practice law in Ohio and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio since 1996 and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2006. He is a member of the Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage and Trumbull County Bar Associations. Judge Patton presently sits as a Board Member for the Lake County Blue Coats, a charitable organization that recognizes extraordinary acts of Law Enforcement Officers.
Judge Patton resides in Lake County with his wife of 27 years, Lisa, who teaches Latin and is the Chair of Westlake High School’s World Language Department, and is a leader in Lake County politics. They have three daughters and two Wheaten Terriers.