Deborah M. Turner

Office: Cuyahoga County – Common Pleas Court – General Division

Age: 64

Residence: Solon, OH


Website: Facebook: Deborah M. Turner for Court of Common Pleas

Occupation: Attorney

Education: B.A. Cleveland State University, M.E.D. Cleveland State
University, JD Cleveland Marshall College of Law

Work Experience: 18 years: Asst.Law Director, Prosecutor, Magistrate,
private practice; criminal defense, civil, family and probate law.

Family: Married with 4 adult children and five grandchildren

Affiliations: National Council of Negro Women, Black Women’s
Political Action Committee, Infant Mortality Public Awareness
Campaign, Avon Avenue Baptist Church

Endorsements: Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, Black Women’s Political Action Committee

Bar Association Ratings: 2.5 Judge 4 yourself

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years):
Bedford Municipal Court 2007-2014 Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a

I have spent the last 38 years as a public servant. My listening skills
were fine tuned as a public school educator for 20 years, providing
young minds with the knowledge and guidance to be our leaders of
tomorrow. As an advocate for individuals with disabilities, as my son
with Downs Syndrome, I have developed a sensitivity to the needs of
those who must work harder to have the laws applied to them in a
equitable fashion. Many individuals in our society, especially the poor
have no faith in the “Judicial System”, for they see as “unjust.” Their
belief system has sent a message that those who make the decisions
really can’t see them as a person. During my 18 years as an practicing
attorney, my representation of indigent clients as assigned counsel has
allowed me an opportunity to engage conversation about “the system”
and to gain insight from a different perspective.
As the prosecutor, I’ve had an opportunity to work directly with over 75
police officers in reviewing policy and procedures to ensure that we
have safe communities while increasing positive community relations.
The practice of family law has been instrumental in providing insignt
into family dynamics which are broken and need intervention to place
them on a better path to wellness. The “Best Interests of the Children”
has been the focus in my role as a Guardian ad Litem for children in
Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. It is these interaction with
individuals from all walks of life and a variety of circumstances which
has prepared me for this time and place. I serve as a mentor for high
school and college and law students, as well as young lawyers, always
eager to share the knowledge and expertise that I have gained with
others. Volunteering in the community to engage our senior citizens at
a local skilled nursing facility with the Nation Council of Negro Women,
engaging the public as part of a Infant Mortality Awareness Campaign
or providing our young people with a second chance through the
Juvenile Diversion Program. Interactions with our greater community
has increased my awareness of the challenges and issues that are faced
by victims, defendants, and attorneys on a daily basis in our court
system. Judges must have the ability to meet people where they are in
an effort to change lives.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?

The seat is an open seat being vacated by the Honorable Janet
Burnside who is unable to run due to age restrictions. The General
Division of the Common Pleas Court handles the most serious civil and
criminal matters in our community. I’ve heard the cries from our
community as it relates especially to the criminal matters and it is a
deep hole in which people sink. The cries of the community are of a
legal system but not a “justice system”, Justice comes from people who
understand the legal system both inside and out and have the ability to
relate to individuals from all walks of life. Aside from a knowledge of
the law, this requires above all else, listening skills.
The breath of my experience as an educator, guardian ad litem, and
practice areas of criminal defense, family and probate law will enhance
the view from the bench. I have practiced in this court and I see the
need to have individuals who can be instrumental in changing lives by
really seeing the people and their circumstances. Their is an old adage,
“Hurt people, Hurt people. I want to be part of breaking the cycle of
repeated violence in our communities and helping the residents of
Cuyahoga County feel safe. Situations that bring people before the
court is an opportunity for intervention to begin to peel back the layers
like an onion to change lives. Individuals on the bench must be ready to
roll up their sleeves and work hard to begin the process. Hard work and
serving the public is an integral part of what I’ve done for the past 38
years. I have lived in Cuyahoga County my entire life and understand
the complexities of the communities and the challenges.