The politics of the Judiciary

Oct 26, 2016

The politics of the Judiciary 

Below is a list of judges who come to mind that have served as a judge in Summit County since 2010 but are no longer sitting as a judge:

1) Jane M. Davis

2) Clair E. Dickinson

3) Eve Belfance *  

4) Judith L. Hunter *   

5) Patricia Cosgrove

6) Bill Spicer

7) Brenda Burnham Unruh

8) Thomas Parker *

9) Thomas M. McCarty

10) John Holcomb

11) Todd McKenney *

12) Christine Croce *

13) Greg Macko

     *   Multiple courts

A few have retired. Most however have been either moved to another location through the political process or defeated in a race for the seat they held.

In Summit County there are 29 state judicial seats including Municipal Court, The Court of Common Pleas and The Ninth District Court of Appeals which happens to sit in Summit County.  Elected Judges serve a 6 year term. As you can see by the list of judges who’ve come and gone in the last six years, there is a high attrition rate in being a judge in Summit County. By comparison in Portage and Medina Counties we have the following statistics. There are 12 state court judicial seats in Portage County and 11 judicial seats in Medina County. Since 2010 the judges who have   left the bench in Portage County are Judge Thomas Carnes, Judge John A. Enlow, Judge John Plough and Judge Joseph Giulitto and they left due to retirement after many years of service as a judge.

Since 2010 the judges who have left the bench in Medina County are Judge James Kimbler and Judge John J. Lohn and they left due to retirement after many years of service as a judge. So why   is it in Summit County that we have such a turnover of judges? The answer is simple: politics. When there is a vacancy on the bench, a judge is appointed by the governor. As the current governor is a republican, all of the appointments since Governor Kasich came to office have been republican. Likewise his predecessor Governor Strickland, a democrat, only appointed democrats. Usually whenever a  judicial seat is up for election, it is a contested race with someone running from the opposite party in Summit County. What that brings us to is many of the judges are more politician than they are lawyer. We have judges with little or no experience coming on to the bench. We have one sitting judge right now that one of us has never met despite having cases in her court and hearings set before her. Magically she’s never been there at any of these. The point being that we represent clients in these courts and we have a good feel for the judges who actually work.

Our recommendations in this newsletter do not show a judge’s political affiliation. A judge’s political affiliation means nothing to us. We have good and bad judges who are both democrats and republicans. We are more interested in a judge who has a good work ethic and their experience; work ethic being the more important factor. Thus we take the recommendations we make in this newsletter seriously and we ask that you urge every member of your family to vote and urge you to have your friends, neighbors, and relatives vote as well and share this guide with them.

Willis & Willis Co., L.P.A.
670 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44303

Local: 330-535-2000

Fax: 330-434-5248

© 2011 - 2017 Willis & Willis Co., L.P.A.