Office: Akron Municipal Court
Residence: Akron, OH
Education: J.D. University of Akron; B.A. University of Akron
Work Experience: Judge of the Akron Municipal Court (Elected 2017-present); Summit County Juvenile Court, Magistrate (2017); Summit County Domestic Relations Court, Chief Magistrate and Magistrate (2001-2016); Western Reserve Legal Services, Law Clerk (1999-2000); Oriana House Inc., Corrections Residential Supervisor (1997); Alvis House Federal Corrections Program, Case Manager (1996)
Family: Married with 3 children
Affiliations: 1) RISE (Restore Individual Self-Empowerment), board chair of this court program that helps victims of human trafficking 2) Akron Summit Community Action, current board member, membership committee, finance committee and human resources committee 3) Autism Society of Greater Akron: board member emeritus and past vice president, walk committee 4) Fatherhood Initiative of Summit County: previous board member, steering committee and advocacy and public policy committee 5) Summit County Opiate Task Force, previous board member 6) University of Akron Friends of the Library and Learning Commons Task Force, previous board member 7) Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism Adult Services Committee, previous member 8) Akron Bar Foundation, Fellow 9) Akron Bar Association, previous Family Law Chair
Endorsements: The Honorable Tom Sawyer, Former U.S. Congressman, State Senator and Akron Mayor; Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge; Congressman Tim Ryan; State Senator Vernon Sykes; State Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives Emilia Sykes; State Representative Tavia Galonski; County Executive Ilene Shapiro; Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh; Sheriff Steve Barry; Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan; Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville
Bar Association Ratings: Excellent
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years):
Judge of the Akron Municipal Court (December 2017-present) Magistrate of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Court (January 2017-December 2017) Chief Magistrate of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Court (June 2016-January 2017) Magistrate of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Court (June 1, 2001-June 1, 2016)
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
It is important that judges understand all areas of the justice system. I understand this system and will work hard to make our community safe. I have worked as a lawyer, as an attorney for judges and as a corrections worker. I worked for legal aid, helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community. I also worked in private practice on both civil and criminal cases. This experience has given me a broad understanding of the justice system, and how judges need to think out of the box to accomplish community safety and rehabilitation. It is important as a judge to be innovative, and work to permanently solve problems. I have helped developed several court programs that prevent continuous litigation and work to comfort victims. Certainly, the main goal of every Court should be to reduce recidivism. It is my experience that light jail sentences or unachievable court orders do not solve problems. They often make problems worse, by not attacking the problem. I strive to do what makes sense in each and every court case that I handle. As a corrections worker, I worked with both adult and child inmates, as their supervisor. I taught life skills to those that were being released back in society from the penal system. It is important that a judge really understand incarceration, and its impact. I am even-handed in my decisions and impose sentences for those who need to be held accountable, but will also use alternative sentencing that promotes community safety to save tax dollars.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I seek re-election as Judge of the Akron Municipal Court to continue improving safety in our community. My life and work have taught me the skills judges need. I have wide experience as a judge, magistrate, attorney and corrections worker. I volunteer with agencies and causes that make the Akron area a better place to live. I know how to help keep our community safe. I have decided 18,000+ cases as a judge and former magistrate. Those decisions required a wide understanding of the law, including criminal law, domestic violence, child abuse, mental health, substance abuse, property disputes and complex financial issues. I have a proven record of timely, sensible decisions and understand how important it is to apply the law properly. Our community can count on my experience with the law and with people. In court, I treat everyone with dignity and respect, and I require accountability. People need to be heard, but also to recognize their mistakes and learn from them. I work hard to make sure that court orders are respected. If re-elected, I’ll continue timely justice in court, and provide safety for our community In my first term in office, I became the presiding judge of the Family Intervention Court (FIC). This is a specialized court docket that closely monitors domestic violence offenders and requires them to be accountable for their actions. As the overseer of FIC, I am beginning to require services for the family’s children, who often suffer after witnessing the violence. I will increase these services for the kids. I also started the RISE program at the Court in October 2018. This program helps victims of human trafficking. Ohio ranks fourth in the country for human trafficking victims. These victims often suffer from psychological trauma, addiction and mental illness. They have nowhere to turn and are in danger of being hurt by their trafficker. RISE is a 24-month program that provides safe housing, trauma therapy, mentoring, drug rehabilitation and employment through over 20 community partnerships. Certainly, these victims deserve help from the justice system, and it is encouraging, as a judge, to see RISE participants reclaim their lives. I am rated “Excellent” by the Akron Bar Association for this race. I also earned the endorsement of many of our leaders. I kindly ask for your vote for re-election as your Judge of the Akron Municipal Court.