Education: JD from the Wake Forest School of Law 1991, BA from Otterbein Univeristy cum laude with honors 1988
Work Experience: Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney 1997-2003
Family: Married with two children
Affiliations: Scott United Methodist Church, Past President of the Ohio Juvenile Judges Assoc. 2014, Harrison Masonic Lodge #219, PM, Soccer Coach
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
I have served as the Harrison County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge from 2003 until the present and am seeking re-election. I am a Past President of the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges (2014). I am an active member in the Ohio Association of Probate Judges. I have served on the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges Board of Trustees for close to ten years. I serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio Committee on Family and Children, the sub-committee for Child Abuse, Neglect and Dependency, and the chairperson for the CHIPS workgroup. I am an instructor at the New Judges Training Seminars which is required for all new judges and sponsored by the Ohio Supreme Court. I serve on the Judicial Conference Juvenile Law and Procedure Committee, the Judicial Ethics and Professionalism Committee, and the Public Outreach Committee. I have served a term on the Financial Committee for the National Association of Juvenile Judges.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
I have the benefit of being raised and educated in Harrison County so I know the values, strengths and weakness of my home. I have raised and educated my own family here and have worked to make it a better place. My family has been very active in the community by sitting on various committees and boards ranging from our church to civic and school related activities. My wife and I have placed an emphasis on children by working with school booster groups to ensure that every child has the possibility to succeed. I have coached soccer for fourteen years in various capacities and have enjoyed working with the young men and women and seeing them develop their potential. Prior to taking the bench, I was the Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney for six years and was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Jefferson County for five years prior to that. Those years taught me about the need to listen to all parties and to let the facts speak for themselves. I have been blessed to be able to back to my home county and serve.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I am running to finish the job that my team has started in helping Harrison County Families and Children. Through the Administrative side, the Court has upgraded its computer capacity and is in the process of scanning all probate files into its system. We have an active website with forms and other pertinent information. The Court expects to be certified for a specialized docket in March; a Dependency Court. The Court is actively working to develop a CASA Program for Harrison County to provide GALS to families by the end of 2020. The Court has partnered with the local school system on many projects including working with the Mock Trial Team, Prom Promise, Mentoring, Speakers Corner, and the Alternative School. I am very proud of the work that the team has accomplished and I look forward to working with the team to accomplish even more during the next six years.
Education: B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University; J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Work Experience: Magistrate, Court of Claims of Ohio: 2006 – 2013; Staff Attorney, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court: 2013 – 2018; Associate Attorney, Collins & Scanlon LLP: 2018 – 2019; Associate Attorney, Freeburg & Freeburg LLC: 2019 – Present
Affiliations: Geauga County Bar Association; Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association; John M. Manos Inn of Court; Geauga County Township Association; The Ohio State University Alumni Association; The Ohio State Alumni Club of Greater Cleveland
Family: Married with 2 children
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years) Magistrate – Court of Claims of Ohio, May 2006 – March 2013 Staff Attorney – Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, September 2013 – June 2018
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
I would qualify most of my legal experience as “judicial.” I have presided over bench trials as a magistrate, conducted extensive research into complex legal issues, conducted settlement conferences and mediations with parties and counsel, and prepared entries and written legal opinions and decisions for the Court. In private practice, I have represented a myriad of clients and various legal situations: evictions, collections, property damage, breach of contract, fraud. I have also handled litigation in Probate Court and I serve as a certified Guardian Ad Litem in Juvenile Court. Through my experience, I have become well-versed in the rules of evidence and the rules of procedure that govern court proceedings.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I am seeking office out of a strong desire to serve the community that I love and in which I have chosen to raise my family, and to do my part to ensure that it remains such as my children grow. I am seeking the bench to restore faith in the Probate/Juvenile Court and return civility to its operation. My desire is to reestablish a position of respect and prominence in the community for the Court, and to foster a return to collaboration with the various stakeholders in Geauga County, including County agencies and elected officials. My pledge is to return the Probate/Juvenile Court to its intended role as a nonpartisan arbiter of justice. I will restore fiscal conservatism to the Probate/Juvenile Court. Over the past nine years, spending by the Probate/Juvenile Court has become increasingly wasteful and unmanageable. The Probate/Juvenile Court must return to responsible fiscal habits and be more judicious when spending the precious financial resources entrusted to it through the hard-earned dollars of Geauga County taxpayers. In order to rein in spending, the Court must work cooperatively with the County Commissioners, the Geauga County Prosecutor, the Geauga County Auditor, and the County’s various law enforcement agencies. Additionally, many of the “programs” for Juveniles offered and supported by the Court are duplicative or overlap programs already offered by agencies and entities in the County. The Probate/Juvenile Court should work cooperatively with Ravenwood, the Family First Council, Catholic Charities, and other stakeholders to offer support for Geauga’s families without duplicating efforts. With respect to the Geauga Park District, if elected Judge I will appoint Park Board Commissioners I can trust with backgrounds in conservation, as well as business, to ensure that the Park District maintains its statutory duty to preserve and protect Geauga County’s precious natural resources. After the appointment of such commissioners, I will remove myself from any further direct management of the Geauga Park District except as necessary by law and allow them to operate autonomously.
Work Experience: CITY OF MASON PROSECUTOR, 1984-2009, COMMON PLEAS JUDGE 2009-PRESENT
Family: FATHER OF FOUR ADULT CHILDREN AND SIX GRANDCHILDREN
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years) COURT OF COMMON PLEAS GENERAL DIVISION 2009-PRESENT MAT/DRUG COURT JUDGE 2013- PRESENT BOARD CERTIFIED CIVIL TRIAL SPECIALIST 2019 SOUTHWEST OHIO JUDGE OF THE YEAR- SWOTLA 2018 IVAN FASKE INSPIRATONAL AWARD–ONE CITY FOR RECOVERY 2016 HEROES AGAINST HEROIN HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR GREATER CINCINNAT AND NORTHERN KENTUCKY 2015 MIAMI VALLEY TRIAL LAWYERS JUDICIAL RECOGNITION AWARD FOR JUDICIAL ETHICS AND INTELLECTUAL TENACITY 2015 NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS (NAMI) SOUTHWEST OHIO AWARD IN EXCELLENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE/MENTAL HEALTH CATEGORY 2014 NAMI/WARREN COUNTY PUBLIC OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? US ARMY VETERAN PRE- JUDICIAL LEGAL EXPERIENCE TWENTY SIX YEARS AS MASON, OHIO CITY PROSECUTOR TWENTY SIX YEARS AS A CIVIL TRIAL ATTORNEY AND PRINCIPAL IN THE FIRM OF PEELER, MCGARY & ZOPFF LPA
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I AM RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION TO CONTINUE MY GOAL OF TREATING PEOPLE WHO STRUGGLE WITH SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER WITH THE RESPECT & DIGNITY THEY DESERVE VIOLENT OFFENDERS NEED TO ACQUIRE THEIR REHABILITATION IN PRISON FOR THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS NEED TREATMENT I BELIEVE ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES ABOUT ADDICTION. IF WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES THAT COME BEFORE US, THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN DO THE JOB WE WERE ELECTED TO PERFORM
Education: J.D. from University Of Cincinnati College of Law
Work Experience: Municipal prosecutor, City Solicitor, Civil and Appellate litigation, Magistrate
Family: Mother, Grandmother
Endorsements: Hamiton County Democratic Party, Retired Judge Fanon Rucker and Equality Cincinnati
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years) I am currently and have served as a magistrate for almost seven years. I have presided over custody, child support and juvenile traffic matters.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? In addition to my experience as a magistrate, I also have experience at every other level as an attorney. I have practiced in the Ohio State Courts including Small Claims, Municipal, Common Pleas and the Supreme Court of Ohio. I have also practiced in the Southern District Western Division of Ohio, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and helped write a Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. I have litigated municipal criminal, traffic and vehicular homicide cases and was the Special Prosecutor for the Mental Health Court, which like the Hamilton County Drug Court is certified by the Ohio Supreme Court, non-adversarial and treatment focused. Additionally, I have litigated and defended employment, municipal tax, personal injury, contract and administrative cases on behalf of the City of Cincinnati.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I am running for Drug Court because I believe in fairness, restorative justice and transparency. And I believe that I can better administer the Drug Court. Fairness relative to Drug Court means equal access to treatment, reviewing and expanding treatment options, offering individualized treatment and treatment of co-occurrences of mental health and other underlying trauma conditions that lead to substance abuse disease. I believe there needs to be more transparency about who is admitted, what criteria is used for admission, who is rejected or kicked out and on what basis and finally what is the rate of success and/or completion. The Court should track this information and make it readily accessible to the public.
Education: JD University of Akron, BA from Kent State in Economics
Work Experience: Canton City Prosecutor, Private Practice
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years) I am completing my second full six year term on the Stark County bench.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? I practiced for over 20 years. I was the Canton City Prosecutor for over 14 years. I also had a private practice in Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice and Domestic Relations.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I would like to continue my work on the Opioid epidemic. We need to save lives. Approximately six years ago I formed the Stop Heroin From Killing Committee to combat the Opioid problem. Since that time we have offered free symposiums, run radio ads, hosted high school billboard contests and developed a power point presentation to get our message to the public.
Education: JD Cleveland Marshall College of Law, B.S. Magna Cum Laude (Nursing), Syracuse University
Work Experience: Judge Cleveland Municipal Court 2007 to present, Assistant County Prosecuter 1992 to 2007, Associate Counsel Medical Mutual of Ohio 1983-85, Registered Nurse 1976 -1983
Family: Divorced with two adult children
Affiliations: Member Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Assoc, Ohio State Bar Association, American Judges Association, NEOhio Municipal Judges Association, & National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Inducted Sigma Theta Tau National Nursing Honorary 1976
Endorsements: Cleveland Plain Dealer www.Cleveland.com; Northshore AFL-CIO, Laborers Locals 310, 860, 1099; Cleveland Port Council, Maritime Trades Dept; Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Assoc, Black Women’s PAC, Ironworkers Local 17, Cleveland Building &Constrution Trades Council, Pipefitters Union Local 120, Carl Stokes Brigade, Cleveland Firefighters Local 93, Cleveland Area Middle East Org, UAW Northeast Ohio CAP Council
Bar Association Ratings: Rated Excellent by all five bar Associans Judge4Yourself.com; www.,Judge4yourself.com
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years): Cleveland Municipal Court 2007 to present Most people who meet a judge will meet him/her in a municipal court. Most of the people that we see are ordinary people . Some have extraordinary problems. I have done the work to be where I am. I have demonstrated both the temperament and competence requisite to the position. I am enthusiastic about providing the best access to justice, a fair and impartial hearing where the rights of all parties are protected, and a resolution of conflict that is fair. I am engaged in community affairs. Most importantly, I will continue to do the work that the citizens of Cleveland elect me to do. I am the better candidate for this position and I respectfully ask for your endorsement. Judicial service in the Cleveland Municipal court is a problem-solving job, in addition to the legal challenges. I have enjoyed helping individuals and families through difficult times and re-directing them on a path to an improved way of life. For one person this may mean getting sober, for another it means successfully re-integrating with the community after incarceration, for yet another it may mean completing high school or further education and gaining employment that will support them and/or a family. It may be a small thing like gaining a valid driver’s license and insurance. I am in my thirteenth year of service as a judge on the Cleveland Municipal Court. I have worked hard to achieve this honor and I enjoy my work. I served as an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor for fifteen years before becoming a judge for a total of 28 years of public service. Over those years I have gained invaluable experience in dealing with people: defendants, their families, attorneys and judges. Cuyahoga County and Cleveland have invested in me by providing advanced education in domestic violence, addiction, human trafficking and a multitude of other subjects. In turn, I have shared what I learn not only by applying principles of best practice in the court room, but by training other professionals and citizens locally, statewide, and nationally. As a nurse I came to the law from a place of caring and protection. I am proud of our court’s problem- solving approach and our many programs including four Ohio Supreme Court certified dockets: Mental health; Drug court; Veterans Court, and Specialized docket for Human Trafficking which I chair. I initiated our specialized docket to assist victims of human trafficking recover from trauma and addiction in 2014. To date, 18 women have completed the program successful, 180 victims have been identified, with about 25 survivors participating actively in our program. Specialized dockets have proven successful in helping participants successfully complete programs. Our diversion programs help those with little to no criminal history learn new coping skills and to avoid a serious conviction such as domestic violence. My goal in sentencing is to help offenders to improve their lives, as well as protection of victims where necessary. This means that mental health issues, addiction issues and the like are squarely addressed in any sentence given. Treatment works. Many offenders succeed and that is the point: to regain a citizen who contributes to his/her community. I bring to the judiciary my experience as a Registered nurse with education and experience in understanding family dynamics, growth and development, mental illness, addiction, and treatment modalities. I have been admitted to the practice of law for 36 years with no disciplinary action (unlike my opponent whose license has been suspended while serving as a juvenile judge) from the Ohio Supreme Court and with 28 years of public service. I have experience with impoverished citizens and concerns with bail, fine and costs, sentencing alternatives; extensive experience with offenders and victims in the criminal justice system including trial practice, litigation both civil and criminal, proven judicial temperament and work ethic. I am committed to maintaining a neutral presence on the bench and providing a fair hearing to all who appear there.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? I bring to the judiciary my experience as a Registered Nurse with education and experience in understanding family dynamics, growth and development, mental illness, addiction, and treatment modalities. I have been admitted to the practice of law for 36 years with no disciplinary action (unlike my opponent whose license has been suspended while serving as a juvenile judge) from the Ohio Supreme Court and with 28 years of public service. I have experience with impoverished citizens and concerns with bail, fine and costs, sentencing alternatives; extensive experience with offenders and victims in the criminal justice system including trial practice, litigation both civil and criminal, proven judicial temperament and work ethic. I am committed to maintaining a neutral presence on the bench and providing a fair hearing to all who appear there.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? Why are you seeking this office? What improvements would you make? What is your platform Judges are leaders. Integrity, accuracy, transparency, innovation and positivism begin with us and are passed on to our employees and to those doing business with the court. In addition to our primary responsibility as jurists, we are responsible for the administrative aspects of the court’s business including personnel, policy, specialized dockets, and community outreach. There is much work that has begun and much that is yet to do. Bail Reform & Pretrial Services Implementation and ongoing evaluation of the Arnold Foundation Public Safety Assessment (PSA) and the opening and development of our pretrial services department. These are tools that significantly impact a defendantâ€™s experience and court administration. High Risk DV Docket Our court has initiated a high risk domestic violence docket which utilizes an 11-question questionnaire the answers to which can indicate a high risk for homicide. Expansion of this process is planned for 2020. . Specialized Docket for Victims of Human Trafficking. The specialized docket has proven effective in supporting individuals through recovery from addiction. It has proven to be successful with trauma survivors as well. Since 2014 we have identified 180 victims of HT, 7 healthy babies born drug free, 1 have participated in the program with about 25 currently active. Eighteen women have completed the two- year program. Many mothers have been reunited with their children. 7 have overdosed on opiates and died. It is important that this work continue. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise behind drugs and illegal arms. Our children are at risk. The average age of induction into the sex trade is between 12 and 14 years of age. Traffickers are predators. Additionally, we need to develop an effective and consistent way to address consumers. Cuyahoga County Jail Nine deaths in the last year are unacceptable. Judges are part of the solution to a serious problem. The use of pretrial services has helped significantly reduce our jail population with use of pretrial supervision & reporting and GPS devices. Protection of the community and defendant rights priorities. As a result, jail is reserved for the most violent of offenders or others who present a danger to the community I enjoy work in our problem-solving court. It is gratifying to see someone get sober, get a GED or a valid driver’s license with insurance and move forward on a new path of productivity. These are the rewards of the job and the whole point of what we do.
Occupation: Assistant Prosecutor – Columbiana County
Education: Juris Doctorate- The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, Bachelor’s Degree-Gannon University, Erie, PA
Work Experience: Staff Attorney, Columbiana County Court of Common Pleas, Probation Officer, Columbiana Court of Common Pleas, Columbiana Court of Common Pleas Magistrate, Adjunct Professor Kent State Salem Campus, Business Law
Family: Married with 3 children
Affiliations: Columbiana County Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbiana County Township Association, Business Professional Women of Columbiana County, Columbiana County Farm Bureau
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years): I served the citizens of Columbiana County as a Magistrate in 2018 in the Court of Common Pleas. I handled domestic relation cases where I have experience issuing domestic violence and civil stalking protection orders.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? I have served in nearly every aspect of Columbiana County’s criminal justice system as a staff attorney, probation officer, magistrate, and now an assistant prosecutor. This makes me uniquely qualified to be the next Municipal Court Judge. I have worked closely with our judges over the years conducting legal research and drafting legal writing with respect to many civil and criminal trials as a staff attorney. As a felony probation officer, I saw the effects of addiction first-hand. As a magistrate, I often protected women and children by issuing domestic violence and civil stalking protection orders. Currently, I prosecute criminal misdemeanor cases, which are the exact types of cases that I would be presiding over as the next municipal court judge.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I was born and raised in Columbiana County and am passionate about the future of our community. I want to ensure Columbiana County is a safe place to live and raise a family. I am committed to following the law and using the Constitution as my guide when giving criminals the sentences they deserve. My leadership qualities paired with my work ethic and values will allow me to make a monumental impact in Columbiana County.
Education: Juris Doctor, University of Akron, 1992; B.A. Accounting, University of Akron, 1986; Associate Degree, Criminal Justice, University of Akron, 1982; Certified, Ohio Police Officer Academy 1980
Work Experience: 10 years of combined Common Pleas and Municipal Court experience, private practice Attorney for 25 years, and a plumber’s apprentice through Local 94 for Spino & Co. as I worked my way through college.
Family: Married with 3 adult children
Affiliations: Domestic Violence, Board Member; Ohio Stark County Farm Bureau, Member; Schalmo Family Canal Fulton YMCA, Board Member; Northwest Stark Senior Citizens Center, Current Advisor & Volunteer/Former Board Member; Massillon Chamber of Commerce, Member; Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Jackson-Belden office, Member; Unique Club of Stark County, Member & Scholarship Committee Member; Stark County Bar Association, Member; Ohio State Bar Association, Member; National Italian American Bar Association, Member; Elder Law Committee SCBA, Member; Municipal Court Committee SCBA, Member; Heartland Behavioral State Institution, appointed counsel for patients; Portage Lakes Vocational School Criminal Justice Program in Summit County Former Advisory Board Member;-Knights of Columbus, Member; Stark County Catholic School/Holy Cross Academy, Board Member; Catholic Schools Education Development Committee, Board Member; MS Conversanese Italian Club of Akron, Ohio, Member; Sts. Philip & James Catholic Church Finance Committee, Board Member, Legal Advisor, and Finance Committee Member / Former President of the Finance Committee, Former Parish Council Member, and Former Renovation Committee Member; Boy Scouts of America Buckeye Council, Volunteer Troup 94 in Canal Fulton; Northwest Jackson Soccer League, Former Soccer Coach; Building Industry Association of Stark County, Member; Stark County 4-H Club, Current Volunteer
Endorsements: AFL-CIO Hall of Fame Central Labor Council, Votes for Women, and WestStark Republican Women’s Oganization
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years): Judicial Law Clerk/Magistrate for Judge V. Lee Sinclair in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, 1995-1997 Worked for numerous Canton Municipal Court Judges, 1990-1995 Personal Bailiff/Judicial Law Clerk for Municipal Court Judge Anthony Flex, 1986-1990
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? I have dedicated and invested my time in our community for over 30 years volunteering with multiple organizations and serving on numerous boards, such as the Portage Lakes Vocational Law Enforcement Training Board, Domestic Violence Board, Northwest Stark Center, etc. Coupled with my 25 years experience representing business owners, landlords, tenants, and individuals that make up our community, of which I am also a business owner and a landlord, has provided me firsthand knowledge and experience, as well as a clear perspective of the court’s role and the impact on the individual appearing before the court, and the affect it has on our community.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? Because, I want to keep our community safe and continue making lasting positive changes in our community and strengthen the bond between the courts and the individuals it serves. Because, my deep roots to the community and extensive community involvement stem from my passion to initiate change and my desire to help others and see them overcome and succeed. Because, I will hold those that appear before the court accountable while dispensing justice with fairness and compassion, which I learned from the 10 years of experience working for several Judges in the Stark County Common Pleas and Municipal Court, as well as professionally advocating and assisting individuals for the past 25 years. Because, my combined firsthand experience, knowledge and understanding of the community provides me with a clear perspective of the court’s role and the impact on the individual appearing before the court, and the affect it has on our community, which enables me to better serve the people and the needs of our community, and continue to make lasting, positive changes in our community.
Office: Cleveland Municipal Court-Housing Division
Residence: Cleveland, OH
Websites: Facebook: Re-Election Housing Court Judge Ron O’Leary https://re-elect-housing-court-judge-ron-oleary.business.site/
Occupation: Judge, Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division
Education: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (B.A., M.A.); Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D.)
Work Experience: Judge, Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division, 4/2017-present; Director, City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing, 2014-2017; Assistant Director, City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing, 2006-2014; Adjunct Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 2006-2014; Associate Attorney, Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, 1/2006-10/2006; Judge, Cleveland Municipal Court, 9/2005-12/2005; Chief Assistant Director of Law, City of Cleveland Department of Law, 1999-2005; Assistant Prosecutor, City of Cleveland Department of Law, 1998-1999.
Family: Married with three children
Affiliations: St. Patrick’s Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Endorsements: Cleveland Plain Dealer https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2019/10/ronald-jh-oleary-for-cleveland-housing-court-judge.html; Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli; Cleveland Port Council Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Auto Mechanics Local 1363; Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 310; Cleveland Building & Construction Trades Council https://cbctc.org/2019-endorsed-candidates/; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local No. 19; Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association; Cleveland American Middle Eastern Organization; International Association of Firefighters Local 93;
Bar Association Ratings: All five bar associations: Excellent (Top rating) https://www.judge4yourself.com/judicial-candidate-ratings/
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years): Cleveland Municipal Court- Housing Division: April 2017 to present Cleveland Municipal Court- General Division: September 2005 to December 2005 I first served as a Judge in the Cleveland Municipal Court from September 2005 through December 2005. I now serve as the Judge of the Housing Division of the Cleveland Municipal Court (more commonly known as a Housing Court), a position to which I was appointed in April 2017, after the death of Judge Raymond L. Pianka. I was elected in November 2017 to serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending January 1, 2020. As the sole Judge of the Housing Court, I am responsible for the adjudication and disposition of the 12,000 to 15,000 civil and criminal cases filed in the Housing Court each year. The Housing Court has exclusive jurisdiction over civil and criminal actions to enforce local building, housing, air pollution, sanitation, health, fire, zoning, and safety codes applicable residential and commercial structures, as well as exclusive jurisdiction over landlord-tenant matters and certain actions brought to abate public nuisances. This broad subject matter jurisdiction, combined with its unlimited monetary jurisdiction (unusual for a municipal court), and its incidental jurisdiction (which enables the Court to decide all claims in any case properly brought in the Court), give the Housing Court the tools we need to fulfill the Court’s purpose as a problem-solving court, and improve the quality of daily life for the residents of the City of Cleveland.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? As an assistant prosecutor, then Chief Assistant Director of Law for the City of Cleveland, I routinely reviewed evidence, analyzed possible courses of action, determined the type of civil action or criminal charges to file, and then prosecuted those actions to their conclusion. The majority of the cases I brought or approved as the Chief Assistant Director of Law for Code Enforcement were brought in the Housing Court. I am well-versed in the types of cases and claims brought in the Housing Court, and experienced in assessing the validity of those claims. My service as Assistant Director and then Director of the City of Cleveland’s Department of Building and Housing reinforced my knowledge of the City’s Codified Ordinances, many of which serve as the basis for Housing Court actions. During my tenure with the Department of Building and Housing, I also learned of the City’s processes involving demolition, permitting, plans approval, etc., as well as the programs available to assist residents in repairing and maintaining their properties. This information is invaluable to me as the Housing Court Judge, as I work to encourage property owners to comply with City codes. The Housing Court Judge is responsible for a staff of approximately fifty employees, and so must be capable of managing a large staff and routinely addressing personnel issues. As Director of Building and Housing, I developed extensive experience in managing personnel. The Housing Court bailiffs are members of a union; my work with the City of Cleveland included the supervision of union employees, and the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements. Finally, my non-judicial experience gave me the opportunity to work with the residents of the City, and deepened my commitment to public service. I have met with members of the community, listened to their concerns, prosecuted cases bearing those concerns in mind, and often called members of the community as witnesses to express the impact on the community’s well-being of the offenses charged. I am an active member of the community in my own Cleveland neighborhood as well; my wife, children and I participate in church, school and theater activities in Cleveland. I have experienced the concerns and comforts of Cleveland’s neighborhood communities, which enable me to bear those factors in mind, while serving as Cleveland’s Housing Court Judge.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I have dedicated my career to public service. Since I joined the Cleveland Department of Law in 1998, I have worked to make Cleveland a better place. Whether prosecuting domestic violence, drunk driving or other crimes, or through improving the City’s building stock and closing nuisances like drug houses, I have applied my legal and management skills to making Cleveland a safe place in which to live, work, and raise a family, enjoying all that the City has to offer. Cleveland Housing Court is a fitting place for me to apply my knowledge and experience, and continue my public service, as a judge. Judges must apply the law impartially while understanding the people who appear before the bench. My experience as a prosecutor, municipal attorney, judge, and municipal administrator has given me the perspective to understand the challenges that face Cleveland and its residents. I can continue to serve by being a judge who knows the law and understand the people who appear before him. I am one of the many people who greatly admired the passion that Judge Ray Pianka brought to the Housing Court. I had the opportunity to work with Judge Pianka for many years. As Cleveland’s Chief Assistant Director of Law I prosecuted criminal and civil cases before him; as the Director of Building and Housing, we frequently conferred about policies and projects. I saw the energy and creativity he brought to the Housing Court, causing it to become nationally recognized for its innovative programs. I am committed to ensuring that the Housing Court maintains its character and reputation as a knowledgeable, proactive Court. The Housing Court is a unique court. The Housing Court Judge must know and apply the relevant statutory requirements and City ordinances, and follow the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, Rules of Evidence and case law, like any other Judge. In addition, in this problem-solving Court, the Judge must ensure that the Court is accessible and responsive to the parties who appear before it, and the community as a whole. The Court and its staff must be knowledgeable and resourceful. I am committed to applying my legal and managerial experience, as well as my knowledge of the City’s housing stock, and, more importantly, its neighborhoods and residents, to this critical position on the municipal court bench.
Education: J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Work Experience: Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge (1998-2012), Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor (1987-1998), Rauser and Associates LLC, Private Practice of Law (2013-2019)
Family: 5 grandchildren, 3 children
Affiliations: St. Leo’s Parishioner, Olmsted Falls Travel Baseball Association
Endorsements: Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Teamsters Union Local 436
Bar Association Ratings: Excellent
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years): I served 14 years as a Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge, with 7 years experience as Administrative Judge and 3 years expererience as Presiding Drug Court Judge. 1998-2012
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge? I have over 32 years legal experience. !2 years I served as an Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor with extensive trial expererience. I have tried serious criminal cases such as murder, rape, and robbery. In private practice I have expererience in criminal defense, family and juvenile law, bankruptcy and civil litigation. In addition , I have a B.B.A. degree with a major in accounting and experience working as a credit analyst at a bank. The business experience is helpful in civil litigation and having constructive input into the court’s administrative functions including the best ways to utilize the court’s resources.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat? I aspire to be judge at Cleveland Municipal Court because I believe I am the right candidate to move the court forward on day one and into the future. I was born and raised in Cleveland and I care about the people that live here. I believe that I can make a difference in the lives of the people who may appear before the court. If elected to the Bench, I would like to utilize and apply my 14 years of judicial experience, with 7 years as Administrative Judge, to successfully move the court forward. The Court needs tighter management controls and more efficient processes and procedures as it pertains to scheduling, case management, and implementing result driven cost effective programs in the court system. It is even more imperative when using taxpayers funded limited resources. I also believe the court needs to ultimately address the issues contributing to overcrowded jails, the conditions at the jail, the lenghty wait time for drug treatment and mental health services to begin, and to finalize bail reform.