Peter M. Sikora - Juvenile Court Judge
Peter Sikora, a veteran judge at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, had a front-row seat to the downside of procreation. His days were filled with abused and neglected kids, custody battles, and wannabe thugs who shoot each other for nonexistent reasons. His job, one might argue, was a 40-hour-a-week seminar on why procreation should be outlawed. Judge Sikora always thought outside the box for juveniles. He started programs such as teens donating blood or taking CPR courses, or earning money to donate turkeys at Thanksgiving.
When he was seventeen, a trampoline accident cost him the use of his legs and some of his upper body. But he held several public offices and ran for higher ones. He never accepted his condition. He did what he had to do to proceed with his life.
Sikora was born on December 11, 1951, to Peter and Marie Sikora. He ran track, cross country and played hockey at St. Ignatius High School. He dreamed of becoming a surgeon.
After fracturing two vertebrae on the trampoline, he spent nineteen months in the hospital, but he graduated with his class at St. Ignatius.
Not up to practicing surgery, he decided to become a lawyer. Sikora earned an associate’s degree at Cuyahoga Community College. He was valedictorian at Baldwin Wallace College and graduated with the highest honors. He received a law degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he was awarded student of the year and associate editor of the law review.
From 1983 to 1986, Sikora was deputy legal counsel to Governor Richard Celeste. He then became deputy director and general counsel to the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Celeste appointed him to the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court in 1989. Sikora served as the court’s administrative judge from 1995 to 1a996 and from 2000 to 2001.
In 2006, Sikora and Bill O’Neill won the Democratic nominations for the Ohio Supreme Court but lost in the general election. Two years later, Sikora won another nomination and lost another election to the same court.
He won many endorsements from The Plain Dealer. “ His approach to the task is one of patience and sensitivity,” the newspaper editorialized in 1990. “He has worked to keep an up-to-date docket and has supported the development of alternative residential placement for troubled youth,”
Sikora was president of the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges from 2008 to 2009. He chaired the credentials committee of the American Correctional Association and belonged to many other professional groups.
Judge Sikora also served on many civic boards, including the Cleveland Ballet, International Services Center, Health Hill Hospital for Children, and MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio.
Sikora’s resume listed thirteen adult awards, including a berth in the National Hall of Fame for Persons with Disabilities and the Outstanding Citizen Award of the National Council on Disabilities.
On April 18, 2012, Peter Sikora died at Regency Hospitals in Middleburg Heights after a five-month struggle with pneumonia. He left a special love to Jean Foutz, U. S. Nave retired, his caregiver. Judge Sikora was not only a highly respected jurist but was an inspiration to all who knew him. His wisdom, kindness, and fairness did honor to the bench. Bill O’Neill, a former Ohio appeals Judge, said, “He accomplished more in a wheelchair than most of us do standing tall.”