Office: For Judge of the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division
Full Term Beginning 2/9/2021
Social Media: www.Facebook.com/rusuforjudge/
Occupation: Judge of Mahoning County Probate Court
Education: Juris Doctorate (J.D.) Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Work Experience: Probate lawyer for 23 years prior to taking the bench
Family: Married for 28 years with four children and two grandchildren
Affiliations: Past President of the Mahoning County Bar Assn; current Secretary of the Ohio Probate Judges Association
Bar Association Ratings:
(1) List your judicial experience (courts and years)
I have been the Mahoning County Probate Judge for the last six (6) years. On July 8, 2014, I was appointed by then Gov. John Kasich to fill the unexpired term of probate judge. After winning election in the November 2014 general election, I have been the Probate Judge in Mahoning County presiding over estate administrations, guardianship’s, will contest matters, adoptions and numerous other issues that have come before the Court on a daily basis.
(2) What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
Prior to taking the bench in July 2014, I was an Estate/Probate lawyer for twenty three (23) years, limiting my practice to probate matters. During my 23 years as a practicing lawyer, I drafted hundreds of Wills, Trusts and estate plans for my clients and administered estates for those that passed. In addition, I also established Guardianship for my clients disabled family members who could not care for themselves and was fortunate to represent new parents creating a forever home for a child by adoption. In total, I handled over 1,200 cases in the probate court during my 23 years as a lawyer.
(3) Why are you running for this particular court seat?
Since I first began my career as a lawyer, I have always been in the probate area of law. It is an area of the law that I truly love and respect. Mostly because it deals with our most precious things, our family and our assets. While in law school I began working at the Sixty Plus Law Clinic which allowed me to help individuals 60 and older with drafting estate plans (Wills, Power of attorneys for Health Care, etc) and other legal issues that they were experiencing at the time. This furthered my interest and passion for helping individuals with aging issues.
After graduating law school, I began my law career with my law partner, Joseph Lane in Canfield, Ohio where we limited our practice to probate matters. Things like drafting Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney’s, qualifying individuals for Medicaid, handling Adoption’s and establishing Guardianship’s were all part of my every day work life.
I believe that I bring a great deal of experience, empathy and integrity all coupled with a common sense approach to the bench that has helped the citizens of Mahoning County. In my first six years as judge, I was responsible for creating a “National Adoption Day” which brings awareness of the importance of adoption in Mahoning County. I also created a “Help Desk” wherein local lawyers make themselves available to help citizens with simple probate matters at no charge. In addition, I created a mental health court called “Fresh Start Court” that offers assistance to individuals who have been discharged from the hospital stay on their medication and limit their re-hospitalization’s by providing support services and encouragement from the bench. These are just a few of the reason’s that I believe that I am the best person suited to be the probate judge of Mahoning County. When re-elected, I will continue my passion for helping individuals in the area of probate by making the process easier to understand, and the court more accessible and user friendly.