John M. Williams

Office: For Judge of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division
Full Term Beginning 2/14/2021

Age: 58

Residence: Cincinnati



Social Media: Twitter: @judgejwilliams; Facebook and Instagram: @JudgeJohnWilliams

Occupation: Judge, Hamilton County Juvenile Court. I have presided over thousands of cases involving abused and neglected children and delinquent youth. As senior Judge, I am responsible for the administration of the Court and it’s approximately 290 employees, which includes operation of a detention facility, probation department, and the Court’s behavioral health clinic.

Education: St. Xavier High School; B.A., Xavier University; J.D., Thomas Cooley Law School

Work Experience: I am in my 9th year as Juvenile Court Judge and have practiced law for 27 years. I was appointed Juvenile Court Judge in 2011, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014. Prior to serving as Judge, my experience included: over 10 years as a Mayor’s Court Magistrate; Hamilton County Clerk of Courts and Administrator of Clerk of Courts; Director of Hamilton County Board of Elections; Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; and small business owner.

Family: Married to my wife, Sarah, for 23 years and father to three sons.

Affiliations: American Bar Association, Judicial Instructor; Ohio Judicial College, Presenter; Potter Stewart Inn of Court; Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges, Member; Ohio State Bar Association, Member; Cincinnati Bar Association, Member; Xavier Baseball, Dad; Irish Heritage Center of Cincinnati, Member; and St. Mary’s Church, Member.

Endorsements: Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union, Local 48; Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police, Queen City Lodge 69; Hamilton County GOP; Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Mechanical Equipment Service Techs, Local 392; Cincinnati Right to Life PAC; and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Local 24.

Bar Association Ratings: The Cincinnati Bar Association did not release ratings in 2020.

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
As Juvenile Court Judge, I have been assigned over 100,000 cases ranging from serious acts of violence to low level offenses. I treat all litigants with fairness, dignity and respect.

In addition to my duties on the bench, I have worked to develop public and private partnerships to create innovative, nationally recognized programming for kids and families. My accomplishments include: Winner of the Ohio State Bar Association 2020 Innovative Court Program & Practice Award; nationally recognized by the American Bar Association for achieving a 95% graduation rate for students in foster care through the Kids in School Rule! program; and selected as a Cincinnati Bar Foundation grant recipient for the Court’s free Custody Clinic and showcased at their annual Rock the Foundation event for promoting access to justice and changing the lives of over 1,700 families in crisis.

I am also proud that our Court diverts 1 in every 2.75 delinquency and unruly cases, facilitating service connections for youth in lieu of correctional sanctions. By providing school, community and court-based diversion opportunities, the Court proactively addresses issues of disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system with 67% of the diverted cases involving children of color.

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
The relationships I formed as a small business owner of a neighborhood store helped me appreciate the challenges many faced in their daily lives, including unemployment, addiction, truancy, and family violence. These relationships also inform my work today, helping me to make fair and just decisions that include treatment and not just consequences. This experience has given me the foundation as a Judge to make the caring and balanced decisions that protect our communities, families and, most importantly, our kids. I always strive to provide the right approach for the kid at the right time.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I am running for re-election because I am passionate about working with kids and communities, and I want to continuing building on the Court’s great work. During my tenure as Judge, the Court increased diversion programming, opened a free Custody Clinic, expanded Kids in School Rule!, and developed new threat assessment protocols to address school violence. The Court was awarded two grants to support a new Assessment Center that will open in the fall of 2020. This Assessment Center will serve low risk youth and their families with a goal of promoting positive community interventions. These innovations are resulting in a brighter future for our kids and communities.