Dixie Park

Office: For Judge of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division
Term Beginning 2/9/2021

Age: 56

Residence: Canton



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Occupation: Judge, Probate Division, Stark County Court of Common Pleas

Education: J.D. University of Akron School of Law, B.S. Integrated Life Sciences Kent State University

Work Experience: Judge of the Stark County Probate Court, January 2004 to present; Assistant Law Director, City of Alliance, July, 2003 to December 31, 2004; Private practice, June, 2002 to January, 2004; Acting Judge in Alliance Municipal Court, April, 2001 to December, 2002; Magistrate for Judge Lee Sinclair, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, January, 1997 to June, 2002; Law Clerk for Judge Harry E. Klide, January, 1991 to December, 1991; and June 1994 to December, 1996

Family: Married to Dr. John Park and we have three adult children.

Affiliations: Ohio Association of Probate Judges 2004 to present, Immediate Past President; Ohio Judicial Conference 2004 to present, past Executive Committee member; Chair, Subcommittee on Adult Guardianship of Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Children and Families 2010 to present; National College of Probate Judges 2004-2007 2015 to present; American Judges Association; Ohio State Bar Association 1994 to present; Stark County Bar Association 1994 to present, Executive Committee 2005 to 2008; Probate & Estate and Elder Law Committees Ohio Guardianship Association 2016 to present; National Guardianship Association 2016 to present; Ohio Coalition of Adult Protective Services 2016 to present; National Adult Protective Services Association 2018 to present; Regina Coeli Catholic Church 1996 to present; Catholic Woman’s Club 2003 to present; Alliance Woman’s Club 2017 to present; Board member, Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration 2018 to present; Stark County Medical Auxiliary 1994 to present, Legislative Chair 1996-1997, 2000-2004

Endorsements: Votes for Women, Fraternal Order of Police McKinley Lodge #2

Bar Association Ratings: Recommended, Stark County Bar Association 2020

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
Judge of the Stark County Probate Court, January 2004 to present; Acting Judge in Alliance Municipal Court, April, 2001 to December, 2002; Magistrate, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, January, 1997 to June, 2002

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
I have worked most of my career within the court system. The value of my non-judicial legal experience was that it provided me insight and empathy into the dimensions of the attorney-client relationship and the experience of being on the other side of the bench. Much time is devoted to preparing court filings and for court appearances. The court file itself does not reflect all of the work, client support and effort expended on the case. Consequently, I make an effort to spend time with counsel to discuss any potential issues before proceeding with a hearing. If the matter is contested, this is an opportunity for the parties to resolve the case. This practice optimizes and facilitates the hearing process.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
It has been my privilege to serve the residents of Stark County in the Probate Court for sixteen years. While much has been accomplished with generous volunteers in our community, there is still work to be done to raise awareness of alternatives to guardianship, prevention of abuse of the elderly and disabled and mental health treatment options.

Stark County Probate Court started one of the first pilot programs in Ohio for eldercaring coordination in 2017. Eldercaring coordination is a dispute resolution process during which an eldercaring coordinator assists elders, legally authorized decision-makers, and others who participate by court order or invitation to resolve disputes with high conflict levels in a manner that respects the elder’s need for autonomy and safety. This process is a way to avoid guardianship while insuring the safety of the elder.

The Stark County Multidisciplinary Advocacy/Protective Resources Team (SMART) began with the Probate Court’s invitation to various agencies and government offices that serve the elderly and disabled in order to create an ongoing dialogue and forum for the development and implementation of resources to address the needs of the disabled and/or elderly population. Since 2011, SMART has presented an annual program on elder/disabled abuse to raise awareness in the community of this growing issue. There are over 200 attendees at the program every year Additionally, for the past two years, SMART has also sponsored a “Coordinated Community Response” seminar for law enforcement and agencies that serve the elderly and disabled.

Since 2005, volunteers for the Probate Court Angel program have been trained to visit the Court’s wards and their guardians. Court Angels confirm the well-being of wards and provide support and information to their guardians. A study of the program and its value to the community was completed by Miami University of Ohio. Since 2006, Guardian Support Services’ (GSS) volunteer guardians have served numerous wards in facilities with love and kindness. Since the Probate Court assisted in its establishment, guardianship standards and training have been adopted statewide. GSS volunteers exceed the standards. Outpatient commitment of individuals with mental health issues has been successful in assisting individuals with adjusting to living in the community with supports and medication compliance.

In closing, the Probate Court touches the lives of everyone in Stark County through adoptions, marriage licenses, trusts and estates. It is truly a privilege to serve our community.