Cynthia Westcott Rice

Office: For Judge of the Eleventh District Court of Appeals
Term Beginning 2/10/2021

Age: 62

Residence: Brookfield



Social Media: Facebook: Judge Cynthia Rice; Twitter: @judgecindyrice

Occupation: Judge, 11th District Court of Appeals

Education: J.D. University of Akron School of Law; B.S. Purdue University, Krannert School of Management

Work Experience: Judge since 2003; Assistant United States Attorney, 1999-2002; First Assistant Criminal Prosecutor Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, 199-1999.

Family: Married 33 years with 3 adult children

Affiliations: Ohio State Bar Association; Trumbull, Ashtabula, Geauga, Portage, and Lake County Bar Associations

Endorsements: Cleveland Plain Dealer,; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 116; AFL-CIO;AFSME

Bar Association Ratings: 2020: Lake County Bar Association “Highly Recommended,” Trumbull County Bar Association “Preferred Candidate” with 88% vote, Recommended by the Portage County Bar Association

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
Judge, Eleventh District Court of Appeals, 2003-Present; Presiding/Administrative Judge 2007, 2016, & 2017; Administrative Judge, 2020. Preside over cases in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, and Trumbull Counties. Authored over 1,400 appellate opinions and decided over 4,000 appeals. I have been asked by the Chief Justice to sit as a visiting judge on the Ohio Supreme Court and the 2nd, 7th, and 9th District Courts of Appeals. Ohio Judicial Conference-Executive Committee, 2011-present; Co-Chair Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, 2011-present; Appellate Law and Procedure Committee, 2013-present; Ohio Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Courthouse Security, 2013-present.

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
Prior to taking the bench, I spent 12 years as a state and federal criminal prosecutor. I prosecuted all major crimes including capital murder, murder, rape, bank robbery, cyberstalking and gang violence. As a criminal prosecutor, I gained experience in the courtroom trying cases to juries.

During my service on the bench, I have been able to contribute insight into nuances of criminal procedure that have assisted our court in delivering sound, well-reasoned opinions.

• Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio, 1999-2002
• Special Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio, 1997-1999
• Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, 1991-1999
First Assistant Criminal Prosecutor; Chief Counsel Vertical Prosecution Unit for Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force; Chief Counsel Drug Prosecution Unit.

I also was in private practice prior to becoming an assistant prosecutor. This provided me with valuable insight into legal problems everyday people face and how it affects their lives.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I have served the 11th District as a judge for the past 18 years. I believe my legal experience is an asset to the court. The majority of my legal experience prior to taking the bench was as a state and federal prosecutor. Since approximately half of our cases are criminal, I am able to provide 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 laws. This enables me to better determine how U.S. Supreme Court decisions that address federal cases effect Ohio’s criminal justice system.

I have worked in various positions with the Ohio judicial Conference. The judicial conference provides research and impact statements on legislation that affects the administration of justice in Ohio. The goal of the OJC is to improve the judiciary from within the judicial branch and to recommend legislation where needed.

I would like to continue my work with the Ohio Judicial Conference during my upcoming term on the bench. Judicial education is a critical part of ensuring a strong judiciary. I have assisted other appellate judges in teaching the new appellate judges’ training seminar. I find teaching intellectually challenging and hope to continue contributing in this manner. And last but not least, I will serve as the Chief Judge for the Ohio Court of Appeals Judges’ Association in 2021. I am looking forward to this responsibility and challenge.