Robert G. Montgomery

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

Age: 53

Residence: New Albany



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Occupation: Franklin County Probate Judge; Farmer

Education: J.D., Juris Doctor, Capital University Law School: Graduated with distinction (Order of the Curia Honorary Society), Am. Jur. Book Award for Highest Grade in Corporation Law; B.A., Bachelor of Arts, Bowling Green State University

Work Experience: Franklin County Probate Judge, 2011 to Present; Farmer/Owner, Montgomery Farms/White Oak Lodge, SE Ohio, 1999 – Present; Franklin County Recorder, 2000 to 2010; Attorney at Law, Robert G. Montgomery Law Offices, 1997 – 2010; Assistant Solicitor/Prosecutor, Office of the Solicitor & Prosecuting Attorney, Village of Hartford, Croton, Ohio 1997 – 1999; America One Title Agency, Ltd., Founder & Vice President Columbus, Ohio 1998 – 1999; Attorney at Law, Moran & Montgomery, Ltd., Columbus, Ohio, 1997 – 1999; President, CEO & Majority Shareholder, Community Cable, Inc., 1991 – 1997.

Family: Married with two children

Affiliations: Youth Football Coach, New Albany Sports League; Co-Chair for Franklin County’s Operation Feed Campaign; Franklin County Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force Member; Employer Support Award, U.S. Department of Defense (ESGR); AARP Foundation’s Senior Community Service Employment Program Award; Columbus Bar Association; the Ohio State Bar Association; Ohio Association of Probate Judges; and the National College of Probate Judges. Judge Montgomery is a former member of the Ohio Recorder’s Association, the Property Records Industry Association, National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks; the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers, and the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association.

Endorsements: Central Ohio Labor Council, AFL – CIO; Ohio AFSCME Power in Action (Ohio Council 8 & Retiree Chapter 1184); Franklin County Council of Education Associations (OEA / NEA); Columbus Fire Fighters Union Local 67, IAFF; FOP Capital City Lodge No. 9; Columbus / Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council; Teamsters Local Union No. 284; Teamsters Local Union No. 413; Baptist Ministerial Alliance of Columbus & Vicinity; Ohio Veterans United; Columbus Dispatch, October 1, 2010, Montgomery for Probate Judge (“Montgomery boasts a record as a skilled administrator and an upstanding public servant.”).

Bar Association Ratings: Ranked 4.37 of 5.0 possible on Columbus Bar Association (CBA) 2020 Judicial Performance Poll, a rating of “generally strong” is 4 and excellent is 5. Judge Montgomery ranked fifth highest in the overall rankings against his 31 judicial peers in the County. Ranked “generally strong” by the Columbus Bar Association 2018 Judicial Performance Poll Results. In August 2020, he was rated “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” by the CBA Judicial Screening Committee and the Central Ohio Association for Justice. In September 2020 in the annual CBA Judicial Preference Poll, the attorneys in Franklin County PREFERRED Judge Montgomery 65%, versus 35% for his opponent.

(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)


FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT, GENERAL DIVISION, 2011 to Present (Sitting by assignment of Presiding Judge on a case by case basis)

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD Awarded by the Ohio Guardianship Association

On September 19, 2019, the Ohio Guardianship Association honored Judge Montgomery by giving him the Distinguished Service Award. This award was given to Judge Montgomery in recognition of his innovative guardianship programs he created and implemented in Franklin County. The Ohio Guardianship Association specifically mentioned Judge Montgomery’s pilot program in Franklin County where Judge Montgomery drafted the legislation which created the First Public Guardian in the State of Ohio. This program became so successful that the legislature took Judge Montgomery’s program and passed legislation making his Franklin County pilot program a statewide initiative. This allowed all of Ohio’s Probate Judges to implement the same public guardianship program Judge Montgomery started in Franklin County. The Ohio Guardianship Association also recognized Judge Montgomery for another new program, the “Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes.” This new program has allowed parents to stay involved in their children’s mental health care needs after they turn the age of 18.

Awarded by the Ohio Association of Probate Judges On June 10, 2019, the Ohio Association of Probate Judges recognized Judge Montgomery as an outstanding jurist by giving him its Award of Judicial Excellence. This award was given to Judge Montgomery in recognition of the many innovative judicial programs he has created in the Franklin County Probate Court. It was awarded by a bipartisan group of his peers serving as judges in Ohio’s 88 counties. The first program lauded was the creation of the State’s first Pubic Guardianship Program where he drafted legislation creating the Franklin County Guardianship Service Board. This pilot program for Franklin County became a statewide model for other probate courts in March 2019 after the General Assembly adopted HB 595 at Judge Montgomery’s urging, with the Association’s support.The many other innovative programs developed by Judge Montgomery include the State’s first program for Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Purposes, the first full-time probate Mediation Program, plus the Assisted Outpatient Treatment and Outpatient Commitment Court, keeping mentally-ill citizens in their homes to receive treatment. Additionally, citizens needing help can now also turn to the Franklin County Probate Court Legal Resource Center, a legal clinic staffed by a contract lawyer to help them with small estates.

Awarded by the Ohio Association of Probate Judges Judge Montgomery received the Meritorious Service Award from the Ohio Association of Probate Judges in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This award was presented to Judge Montgomery for his leadership and commitment to the many worthy causes he has devoted time and resources to with the Association, including establishing the State of Ohio’s first Probate Court Mental Health fund in Franklin County.

(2nd Award) Awarded by the Supreme Court of Ohio Judge Montgomery received this certificate most recently in December 2017 after previously receiving one in December of 2014. The Supreme Court of Ohio appointed Judge Montgomery to serve on the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts. This key group enacts rules regulating all of Ohio’s courts. Judge Montgomery served as a Commissioner from January 2012 through December 2017.

Awarded by the National Association of Social Workers, Region 5 In 2016, the National Association of Social Workers, Region 5, selected Judge Montgomery to receive the Public Elected Official of the Year Award. This was done in recognition of Judge Montgomery’s innovative ideas in creating the State of Ohio’s first Public Guardian Program.

Awarded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness In 2016, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Franklin County gave Judge Montgomery the Charleta Tavares Champion Award. This recognized the new Assisted Outpatient Treatment and Outpatient Commitment Court developed by Judge Montgomery.

Elected by peers in Ohio Association of Probate Judges to the following positions: 2019: First Vice President of OAPJ; 2017: Second Vice President of OAPJ; 2015: Secretary/Historian of OAPJ; 2014: Chair/Host Summer Conference of the Ohio Associations of Probate, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judges; 2013 to Present: Probate Law and Procedure Committee of OAPJ; 2012: At Large Officer/Executive Committee of OAPJ; Appointed a Commissioner by Supreme Court of Ohio to the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence: 2012-2017- Commissioners are responsible for reviewing and offering recommendations to the Supreme Court on all proposed superintendence rules and amendments from the Court’s various advisory bodies and other organizations Supreme Court of Ohio Subcommittee on Adult Guardianships.

OVERVIEW OF CURRENT DUTIES: 1) Largest single judge court in the state of Ohio, employs over 65 employees, including 14 magistrates, plus deputy clerks, licensed social workers, investigators, bailiffs and other staff; 2) Over 18,000 annual cases filed/active annually; 3) Serves as a Judge of the Probate Division of Common Pleas Court and may conduct jury trials; 4) Serves as Administrative Judge of the Probate Division of Common Pleas Court; 5) May be appointed to preside over civil or criminal cases in Common Pleas Court at the request of the Presiding Judge of the General Division; 6) Serves as the Clerk of the Probate Court; 7) Issues and administers marriage licenses (over 9,000 annually); 8) Jurisdiction in matters involving probating wills, administering estates without wills, and presiding over will contest actions and estate disputes; 9) Jurisdiction over guardianship of incompetent adults and conservatorships; 10) Jurisdiction for all mental illness cases for 15 counties (2000+ annually); 11) Jurisdiction over all adoptions, name changes and birth certificate corrections; 12) Jurisdiction in legal actions involving the disposition of human remains; 13) Jurisdiction over eminent domain matters; 14) Jurisdiction over trust disputes and matters involving powers of attorney; 15) Appoints and swears-in all Humane Society Agents in Franklin County; 16) Metroparks: Elected official in charge of the Franklin County Metroparks; 17) Has the power of appointment of vacancies to all school boards and township trustee boards in the county if the boards cannot agree on a replacement; 18) Serves as a member of the Finance Committee of the Columbus Foundation; 19) Administers oaths and affirmations to fiduciaries from other states; 20) Appoints members to Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities; 21) Appoints members of Franklin County Guardianship Service Board; 22) Appoints Board Member to the Columbus Foundation (7th largest charitable community foundation in U.S.)

(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
My legal career prior to serving as Franklin County Probate Judge involved serving clients who were individuals, families and small-businesses who needed advice and counsel in the areas of probate, estate planning and business matters. As Probate Judge, I am the Clerk of my own Court and supervise dozens of employees. My skill set as experienced public and private-sector administrator uniquely qualifies me to continue to serve as Probate Judge.

My legal experience includes the following positions: Attorney at Law Robert G. Montgomery Law Offices Columbus, Ohio 1997 – 2010, Practiced in the areas of integrated probate, estate and business planning; Counseled individual citizens and small business clients on start- up issues. Assistant Solicitor/Prosecutor Office of the Solicitor & Prosecuting Attorney Village of Hartford Croton, Ohio 1997 – 1999, Attended Village Council meetings and provided legal advice & counsel; Prosecuted traffic and misdemeanor crimes in the Municipal and Mayor’s Courts; Appointed Special Assistant Prosecutor in county seat city for investigation and prosecution of government employee misconduct. America One Title Agency, Ltd. Founder & Vice President Columbus, Ohio 1998 – 1999, Successfully started, grew and sold a land title insurance agency; Licensed by Ohio Department of Insurance as an insurance agent. Attorney at Law Moran & Montgomery, Ltd. Columbus, Ohio 1997 – 1999, Private law practice focused on integrated estate planning, business, corporate, municipal & real estate law; Advised small businesses on numerous legal and start-up issues.

(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
As you can see from above in Question No. 1, the position of Probate Judge of Franklin County is unique because it is as much a social services administrator and senior executive position as a judicial office. I am running for re-election so I can complete the work of important new innovative programs that I have started at the Court. These programs include the state’s first public guardianship program called the Guardianship Services Board, the Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes, and the Outpatient Commitment Court. These are Pilot Programs that I started in Franklin County and would like to ensure their continued success. Finding funding for these programs will be one of the biggest challenges that I have much experience and success with. As Probate Judge I am called the “superior guardian” for over 8,000 people. These are society’s most vulnerable people. Often, the least, last and lost of our community.

I want to continue the transformation from an attorney-based to a licensed social worker based guardianship system to ensure these vulnerable people get the care and service they need and deserve. Working with families in crisis following the death or incapacity of a loved one to navigate the legal system is an honor and privilege. Providing fair and just adjudication of their disputes is a cornerstone of our legal system.

I pride myself on my track record of using my many years of private-sector entrepreneurial experience to tackle complex societal problems. At the Franklin County Probate Court, I have assembled an outstanding staff of public servants who provide courteous, prompt and efficient service to the public for their needs, including obtaining marriage licenses, birth certificate corrections and copies of important public records. In the past nine years I have been in office, I created and implemented the Court’s first Mediation Program which averages a 70% success rate. This Program has allowed families and other litigants in conflict to resolve hundreds of disputes themselves, without the time, heartache and expense of going to court. I have created the first Legal Resource Center designed to help those families that cannot afford an attorney. We have served over 450 people in 2019. Continuing to grow these programs and serve the people of Franklin County has been a tremendous honor and I would love to continue helping people as their Probate Judge.