Office: For Judge of the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas, Probate/Juvenile Division
Term Beginning 2/9/2021
Education: J.D. Cleveland State University
Work Experience: Attorney and Magistrate
Family: Married with one child
Affiliations: Big Brothers Big Sisters Board Member, Anti-Drug Coalition, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rotary, Farm Bureau, NRA, Ohio Association of Magistrates, Tuscarawas County Bar Association, Tuscarawas United Feeding our Future
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
Tuscarawas County Juvenile/Probate Court Magistrate 2016 to Present. In 2016, I was appointed as a Magistrate in the Tuscarawas County Juvenile/Probate Court. Similar to the position of a Judge, as Magistrate, I preside over hearings, listen to evidence and decide the final outcomes of cases. Since 2016, I have presided over thousands of hearings as a Magistrate making decisions in the best interest of Tuscarawas County children and their families.
It’s a Judge’s responsibility to make tough decisions effecting the lives of children and their families. I’ve been making those decisions since 2016 as a Magistrate in the Tuscarawas County Juvenile/Probate Court. Judicial experience is only attained by actually making those tough decisions. My experience as a Magistrate has afforded me the opportunity to gain experience in all facets of the Juvenile and Probate Court. It has also allowed me to identify the areas of the Court upon which I can improve.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
Prior to being appointed as a Magistrate, I was a partner in a private law practice. My practice focused on Juvenile/Probate Law. I represented parents, children and estates. Additionally, I served as a Guardian ad Litem, acting as a voice for children and standing up for their best interest.
As a father of a young child, I am sensitive to the challenges currently facing our children and families. Judges are required to make difficult decisions under stressful circumstances. My experience as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army has prepared me to make fair and firm decisions while exercising sound judgment and compassion.
The Juvenile/Probate Judge oversees an annual budget of approximately 1.6 million dollars of taxpayer money. Prior to attending law school, I worked as a financial analyst at a Fortune 500 company. I have extensive experience with balancing budgets and making sound financial decisions.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
As a magistrate since 2016, I have provided guidance and direction to thousands of children and their families balancing discipline with compassion. A 20-year old recently thanked me for providing direction and encouragement to him years ago when he was in my courtroom. He had made some poor decisions in his youth but was proud to report he was now living drug free with stable housing and employment. That is why I’m running for judge, it’s for the opportunity to make a positive influence in the lives of children and families in Tuscarawas County.
I also created a juvenile work program in 2018 in coordination with several local community agencies to help develop the Tuscarawas United Feeding our Future (TUFF) Bags program. Juveniles are ordered to participate in the work program by helping to pack bags of food later distributed to local children in the community. Last school year, TUFF Bags provided approximately 100,000 meals to Tuscarawas county children that have been identified as food insecure. The program provides an opportunity for juveniles to learn, give back to their community and help other children in need. To date, approximately 90% of those juveniles who have participated in the work program have not returned to the Juvenile Court.
This year, our work program received a Community Outreach Award from the United Way of Tuscarawas County. Cases handled in the Juvenile/Probate Court are not the most glamorous cases but they are the most important to our community because they deal with children and their families. We as a court literally make the decision as to where a child will sleep at night. As a Magistrate, those are not decisions I take lightly.