Cullen spent his childhood in California and Missouri.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Miami of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio, majoring in economics and diplomacy and foreign affairs.  Upon graduation, he moved to Anchorage, Alaska, first working as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer on economic development projects with isolated, Alaskan Native villages, and later serving as Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity-Anchorage, providing housing for low income families.  These experiences led him to pursue a joint degree in law and public policy at the University of Wisconsin.

In law school, Cullen served as a board member and Vice-President of the student public interest law group.  He was an active volunteer in the unemployment law and consumer law clinics, representing low-income clients.  During the summers, Cullen worked at a Washington-based think-tank and at a Philadelphia legal services agency.  He also had the pleasure of interning for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  These experiences fueled Cullen’s desire to serve his community through the judicial bench.

While in Wisconsin, Cullen met fellow law student, Anne Sweeney.  A Cleveland native, Anne is the daughter of retired Cleveland Judge James D. Sweeney.  Anne and Cullen worked together on many public interest projects while at school and were jointly recognized by the Wisconsin Bar Association in 2003 as Public Interest Law Students of the Year.  They were married in 2004 and decided to keep Sweeney as their family name.

Cullen graduated summa cum laude from law school, also earning a master’s degree in public policy. He and Anne moved back to Cleveland where Cullen was hired as a staff attorney for federal Judge Lesley Wells.  Cullen worked for Judge Wells for two years while Anne began work at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Upon completing his term for Judge Wells, Cullen was hired as an Assistant Public Defender in the appellate division of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender.  Cullen has handled more than 200 appeals in the Eighth District Court of Appeals, authored several amicus briefs in the Ohio Supreme Court, and has personally argued 10 cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. He has also handled cases in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court and litigated habeas corpus petitions in federal court.

The Sweeney’s have been blessed with two beautiful children, Tavish, 6 and Sheridan, 4.  They live in Cleveland Heights.