Cynthia W. Rice

Cynthia Rice

Office: Ohio Supreme Court

Age: 58

Residence: Brookfield, OH


Website:; Facebook Rice for Justice

Occupation: Judge

Education: J.D. University of Akron, B.S. Purdue University

Work Experience:  Judge, Eleventh District Court of Appeals, 2003 – Present Presiding/Administrative Judge – 2007 and 2016 United States Attorney’s Office, 1999 – 2001 Assistant United States Attorney, General Crimes Division, Special Assistant United States Attorney, 1997 – 1999 Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, 1991 – 1999 First Assistant, Criminal Division Chief Counsel, Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force Criminal Administrator Chief Counsel, Drug Prosecution Unit . Private Practice, Rice Law Offices, 1989 – 1993

Family: Married 28 years to Judge Ron Rice. We have three children.

Affiliations: Ohio State Extension Advisory Board, Ohio Judicial Conference Executive Committee, 2011 – present Criminal Law and Procedure Committee co-chair, 2011 – present Appellate Procedure Committee, 2013 – present Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Court Security, 2013 – present Bar Association Memberships: Ohio, Ashtabula County, Geauga County, Lake County, Portage County, Trumbull County.

Endorsements: Fraternal Order of Police (FOP); Columbus Dispatch; Akron Beacon Journal; Canton Repository; Cleveland Plain Dealer; Youngstown Vindicator; Ohio AFL-CIO; Ohio State Association Union of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA); United Auto Workers (UAW); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); Ohio Education Association (OEA); Ohio Federation of Teachers; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 6; Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 8; Operating Engineers Local 66; Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades; Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades; Hall of Fame Labor Council; Central Ohio Stonewall Democrats; Cleveland Area Stonewall Democrats; Baker, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local No. 19; Baptist Ministerial Alliance of Columbus and Vicinity; Ironworkers Local 550; IBEW Locals 246, 540, 8, 38,673, 306; Communication Workers of America District 4; U.A. Local 50 Plumbers & Steamfitters; U.A. Local 83 Plumbers & Steamfitters; BWPAC Cleveland

Bar Association Ratings: Highly Recommended by the Ohio State Bar Association

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
Judge, Eleventh District Court of Appeals, 2003 – Present Presiding/Administrative Judge – 2007 and 2016

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
For twelve years before becoming a judge, I gained extensive legal and courtroom experience as a federal and criminal prosecutor. My non-judicial legal practice has been invaluable during my last thirteen years as an appellate judge. As the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to Youngstown, I oversaw the daily operations of the U.S. Attorney’s office. I worked with federal and local law enforcement from the investigative stage of the case through trial. While prosecuting felons, I received extensive courtroom experience including bench and jury trials. I taught in-service training for local police officers on topics like Fourth Amendment search and seizure, Report Writing, and Ethics and Professionalism. As a member of the General Crimes Division, I prosecuted major felonies, including firearm and drug law violations, cyber stalking and interstate stalking, and bank robberies. I worked with local community leaders in the development of the first Weed and Seed program in Youngstown. Weed and Seed is a federally-sponsored multiagency approach to law enforcement, which aims at preventing and controlling, or “weeding out,” violent criminals, drug traffickers, and gangs in high-crime urban areas and at rebuilding, or “seeding,” these areas with human services and educational programs. As the First Assistant Criminal Prosecutor in the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, I was responsible for overseeing all felony criminal prosecutions. I was trial counsel on major criminal cases, including capital murder, murder, rape and all high profile felony cases. I supervised the criminal staff of ten attorneys and support staff. While serving as First Assistant Prosecutor, I was appointed Chief Counsel for the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, Vertical Prosecution Unit. I was responsible for setting up this unit, which was designed to provide multi-jurisdictional prosecution of major drug law violations and in-house counsel for the task force. I coordinated prosecution of felons among the Mahoning and Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Offices and the United States Attorney’s Office. I had ultimate responsibility for the prosecution of all major drug cases prosecuted by the task force from indictment to verdict. I worked with the United States Attorney’s office on the local prosecution of drug offenders arrested following a citywide federal drug investigation. I was appointed Special Assistant United States Attorney from 1997 to 1999, to prosecute two high-level, repeat drug traffickers in United States v. Moxley and United States v. Walker.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
The role of Associate Justice goes beyond the courtroom. In addition to hearing cases of significant importance to the citizens of Ohio, Justices are leaders of the entire judiciary in the state. I would welcome the responsibility that accompanies this leadership role. In the past, many justices have developed projects that can positively impact the judicial process. I would like to utilize my experiences as a drug prosecutor to address the increasing problem with drug and heroin addiction. As Co-Chair of the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, I have seen recent legislation designed to react to the significant rise in drug deaths. I believe we need to do more than react to the growing drug problem. Twenty-five years ago, I established and directed the Trumbull County Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit targeting violations of drug laws regulating the ethical distribution of drugs by pharmacists, doctors, and other professionals. I was appointed Mahoning County Special Prosecutor to prosecute the Mahoning County Coroner on drug trafficking charges. We knew in the early 1990’s, one third of drugs used illegally were prescription drugs. The Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit was designed to address this problem We are now seeing the consequences of flagrant opioid use and the inevitable move to heroin. I would like to spearhead a project to specifically address this aspect of the heroin epidemic. As a Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, I would be able to contribute my experiences to help identify better ways to direct our resources to reduce this public health crisis. I also believe my legal experience can be an asset to the court. The majority of my legal practice prior to taking the bench was as a state and federal prosecutor. Presently, none of the current justices have an extensive background in criminal law and procedure. During my service on the appellate bench, I have been able to contribute insight into nuances of criminal procedure that have assisted our court in delivering sound, well-reasoned opinions. Having practiced as an Assistant United States Attorney, I am more familiar with differences between state and federal criminal law. This enables me to better determine how U.S. Supreme Court decisions that address federal cases affect Ohio’s criminal justice system.