Former judge remembered as ‘feisty’ and ‘colorful’

By David Skolnick


Maureen Cronin, the former Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge who died Sunday, was remembered by colleagues as “feisty” and a “colorful character.”

Cronin, 64, was the first woman to serve as Youngstown city prosecutor and the first female general division common pleas court judge in the county.

“It’s a day of great sadness for all of us who knew her,” said Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court. “I had the opportunity to work with her. We were colleagues for a long time. She was a good judge for the time she served. She was quite feisty. She and I debated a lot.”

Cronin was elected judge in November 1994, and served from January 1995 until her resignation in July 2007 after two drunken-driving convictions, in 2005 and 2007.

She also spent about two years in federal prison from 2010 to 2012 after pleading guilty in federal court to two counts of honest-services mail fraud. Those convictions stemmed from an $18,000 no-interest cash loan from Flora Cafaro, part-owner of the Cafaro Co., while that company had civil cases pending in Cronin’s court.

“I considered Maureen Cronin to be a friend,” said David Betras, county Democratic Party chairman and an attorney. “I was sad to see her career end the way it did. She was a very tough judge and a very tough attorney.”

J. Gerald Ingram, an attorney who was her lawyer in the federal case, said he first met Cronin when she was a prosecutor and he was a defense attorney.

“She was a dedicated, hard-working public employee who always tried to achieve fairness as a prosecutor and a judge,” he said. “Her entire life effort shouldn’t be overshadowed because of one mistake.”

County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains, who grew up with Cronin, said, “It’s noteworthy that she was the first female Youngstown city prosecutor. Her appointment was a historic event, as was her election to judge. I’m extremely sorry to see that she’s passed. She was a colorful character on the bench.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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