For Judge of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division
Full Term Beginning 7/1/2021
Social Media: facebook//judgeamysearcy
Occupation: Judge, Domestic Relations Court Hamilton County
Education: J.D. from Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law, 1990
Work Experience: Current Judge, 6-1/2 years; Director Hamilton County Board of Elections, 6 years; Magistrate, Municipal Court, 6 years; trial attorney, Public Defender’s Office, 10 years
Family: Married, 2 grown children and 7 grandchildren
Affiliations: Trustee, Ohio Assoc. Domestic Relations Judges; member, Domestic Relations Law and Procedure Committee, Ohio Supreme Court; volunteer, Great Parks Hamilton County, board member Prevention First, board member Reach Out Pregnancy Center, board member Harrison Tree Board
Endorsements: FOP, Queen City Lodge #69; Intl. Assoc. Fire Fighters Local #48; Greater Cinti. RTL; UAW-CAP council Local 863
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
I am the Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court Judge, serving since 2014, first appointed and then elected. All of my judicial experience has been exclusively in Hamilton County, both Domestic Relations Court and Municipal Court.
Prior to being a judge, I served as a Municipal Court Magistrate for six years, 2003-2009. My years in Municipal Court gave me a foundation which has assisted me in Domestic Relations Court, in that Municipal Court provided a broader perspective on domestic violence cases in my court. In Municipal Court, as Magistrate, I presided over domestic violence hearings; now as Domestic Relations judge, I am the one responsible for issuing domestic violence orders. This “full circle” exposure has given me a unique perspective making me uniquely qualified.
Working as Domestic Relations judge for the past six years I have been responsible for almost 15,000 cases. My current active caseload consists of 500 divorce; dissolution; child custody and support cases for Hamilton County families. Since 2014 I have consistently been a fair, calm, professional judge, treating every person who enters the courtroom with dignity and respect. I listen carefully, giving attorneys and their clients the time they need to present their position. I also professionally and respectfully interact with grandparents, guardians, parenting investigators and child therapists. I often say, “The loudest voice in the room is not the most respected voice.” I treat all who enter with respect and dignity, and I always will.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
I am a lifelong resident of Hamilton County and have dedicated my career to Hamilton County families. My roots in Hamilton County include seven siblings who graduated from Wm. Henry Harrison High School in Harrison. I graduated from Xavier University in 1985 with my degree in political science with a peace studies minor within the University Scholars Program. I then graduated from Chase College of Law in 1990. I was employed for eleven years in the Hamilton County Public Defenders Office, six years in Municipal Court as a Magistrate, and six years as Deputy Director/Director of Hamilton County Board of Elections. I treasure my years at the Board of Elections, assisting voters, community and advocacy groups, poll workers and elected officials. I will always be dedicated to open, fair and honest elections. My experience in the public defenders office, Municipal Court and the Board of Elections prepared me well for my current position as Domestic Relations Judge. Interacting with people who are in their most vulnerable situations in life helped mold me into a compassionate, patient and calm leader in the courtroom.
As a judge I see my responsibility to protect Ohio law and the legal rules of proper process and procedure. I also see myself as a role model, displaying patience and kindness towards others. A judge’s ego should never be on display in the courtroom. As the judge it is my responsibility to establish that tone and mood. When families walk into my courtroom they are greeted with an environment encouraging everyone to maintain a tone and mood appropriate for family court. Marriages, children, family finances and a “family plan” for the future are the concerns and focus in family court. There is no room here for inflated egos or bravado.
My non-judicial work experience has well prepared me to maintain a respectful and productive courtroom atmosphere. Perhaps the most impactful non-judicial experience I have experienced that has impacted my job as a judge is my life experience itself. I am a wife, mother and loving grandmother. I have been divorced myself, making me empathetic and understanding of the pain and difficulties facing the families in my courtroom. When I witness sadness in the children of the divorced families I feel their sadness from the perspective of a mother and grandmother. My humanity has made me the judge I am today.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I am running for re-election as Domestic Relations Judge because every day I see families healing as a result of the changes I have made to the environment in the courtroom. My courtroom is now more calm and temperate since we removed the attorneys’ tables and replaced them with a large conference table. At this table parents sit down together, negotiate and compromise, come to solutions for their children.
My courtroom is now more calm and temperate since we removed the pictures from the wall and replace them with large canvases of photos from the Great Parks of Hamilton County. These park pictures are calming and inviting with the blues and greens of park trails, waterfalls and meadows. This new environment encourages parents to develop solutions and reach positive outcomes for their children, which is in the best interests of their children!
Second, I am running for re-election because I want to continue to improve the court’s customized service through technology, “e-filing”, the electronic document filing system we recently introduced to Hamilton County Domestic Relations court, is a huge success. Three years ago, we began to develop this system. This plan, created in cooperation with the Clerk of Courts and myself with the expertise of our staffs, has been declared a success by attorneys and the community. Parents, or their attorneys, can now file their court papers from their home computers, saving both time and money for them. I have also introduced a system of text message alerts to victims of domestic violence in our court. Now these victims can feel safer knowing that our text message alert system informs them as soon as their protective orders have been served.
Third, I am running for re-election because I want to continue to serve Hamilton County families with my philosophy that parents divorce each other, not their children. I treat every person who walks into my courtroom with respect, dignity, kindness, compassion and understanding. I remind the parents to remain focused on solutions and not courtroom battles; and to make wise decisions for their kids. The bottom line is this: Courtrooms — and particularly judges– do not need to be loud, intimidating and scary to be effective. The loudest voice is often not the most respected voice. My philosophy for parents and problem-solving is why I am running for re-election as Domestic Relations judge.