John Kolesar

Office: For Judge of the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas, General/Domestic Relations Division
Full Term Beginning 1/1/2021

Age: 54

Residence: Clyde



Social Media:

Occupation: Judge, County Court

Education: JD – University of Dayton School of Law

Work Experience: Judge – 11 years; Assistant County Prosecutor -10 years; Assistant Public Defender – 1.5 yrs; Private practice – 3 yrs (Dayton and Clyde)

Family: Married, one child

Past Chair Red Cross Sandusky County; Past-President Council for Developmental Disabilities of Sandusky County; Past-President Sandusky County Bar Association; Member Sandusky County Community Corrections Board; Member NAACP Fremont Chapter; Member of Commission on Specialized Dockets (Ohio Supreme Court); Ohio Judicial Conference Committees: Traffic Law and Procedure, Specialized Dockets; Member Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections; Raised Roman Catholic.

Endorsements: United States Senator Sherrod Brown; Cement Masons Local 886; Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 50; Iron Workers Local 55, Insulators Local 45.

Bar Association Ratings: 

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
11+ years as Judge in Sandusky County Court in Clyde (March 2009-present). Accomplishments: * Established OVI and Drug Court Specialized Dockets, the only specialized dockets in Sandusky County * Obtained grants for Specialized Dockets of 0,000 annually; Technology grants through Supreme Court of 10,000 in 2020; ATP grant awarded through the court to local mental health board of 50,000 over two years (2019-2020). * Reorganized administration of court by taking control of finances from the clerk of courts * Collected more than 00,000 of unpaid fines and costs during first year of program (2010) * Eliminated cash bonds for non-violent offenses * Serve on the Commission on Specialized Dockets (advisory organization for Supreme Court administrative staff regarding oversight of specialized dockets in Ohio).

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
I have served as a prosecutor, public defender and in private practice. That background provides me with the experience not only to know the law but also the understanding of the impact that the judicial system may have on people who come before the court and on society.

As a felony level prosecutor for 10 years in Sandusky and Seneca Counties, I tried cases ranging from drug offense to murder, represented the interests of the State of Ohio at the appellate level, including in the Supreme Court. I also represented accused offenders as a public defender. That perspective serves me well as a judge now and will continue at the Common Pleas Court.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
The citizens of Sandusky County need and deserve a judge who has relevant experience to serve in this important role. I practiced at the Common Pleas level exclusively as a prosecutor for 10 years. During my career I tried more than 50 cases to jury verdict (more than 40 felony criminal matters) and represented the state in thousands of cases. I appeared as primary or lead counsel in at least three district courts of appeals and at the Supreme Court of Ohio, where I won reversal of a matter that resulted in reinstatement of a 7-year prison sentence and clarified the law on admissibility of statements made by an accused. I represented both defendants and the state in many serious matters in Common Pleas Court.

I have knowledge of the law and experience in the courtroom as judge, prosecutor and defense attorney and have spent my entire professional career preparing for this position. I will establish a drug court at the felony level to help those who are afflicted with substance use disorders to return to productive lives, reducing their likelihood of those offenders committing future crime. In Clyde we were able to focus resources on those most likely to fail on traditional probation with an evidence-based program with direct accountability to the judge (me). We obtained grant funding for an additional staff member and obtained grant money in conjunction with the local mental health board.