We need a Common Pleas Judge with significant criminal AND civil law experience who will bring positive change to the county courthouse.
With over twenty years of combined experience as a lawyer in private practice and as a municipal prosecutor, solicitor and court appointed defense counsel, I understand both sides of our criminal justice system and have handled all of the various types of civil cases which come before the Court, including domestic relations. Since 2005, Republican and Democratic administrations have appointed and re-appointed me to work on behalf of the United States Department of Justice in our federal courts.
If elected, I promise to keep an open mind and listen carefully and thoughtfully to all those who come before me. I promise to treat each person equally and with dignity and respect.
I would be honored to have your vote in the May 3, 2022 Republican Primary Election for Common Pleas Judge.
WHY I AM RUNNING
There are four principal reasons why I am running for Common Pleas Judge:
First, the demeanor and attitude of the Court toward litigants, plaintiffs, defendants, and lawyers must improve. The Court must always treat folks with respect and dignity and maintain calm respectful control in the court room. The Court must also follow its own rules and apply the law evenly and fairly to all, whether you come from the hilltop or the valley. The current Judge has had more than 28 cases reversed or remanded (aka as a ‘do-over’) because he has not followed his own rules, made rulings before the time was up for parties to respond, or improperly applied the law to the cases in front of him. Judges should not make the law or believe that they do not have to follow the same rules as everyone else.
Second, the current plea bargain process in Coshocton County must be overhauled. The Common Pleas Court General Division in neighboring counties like Licking and Knox Counties do not permit plea bargaining at all.
There is active plea bargaining in several dozen cases every year in this county and the public deserves to know in detail, on the record, and in open court why those cases are pled down. Either they were overcharged at the time of indictment, the State is too resource-limited to pursue all of the charges which were indicted, or the evidence is tainted by unlawful and unconstitutional search and seizure by government authorities which requires a reduction. By requiring the reasons for these reductions to be made on the record and in open court, we will all find out what is happening in our local court and get real accountability for the first time.
I am absolutely committed to the kind of plea bargain reform envisioned by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly, who has called the plea bargain process, "A fraud and a lie." Justice Donnelly has also said, "No one should ever say anything off the record that they won't repeat verbaitum on the record. That includes the prosecutor, the defense lawyer and the judge. One day I changed that practice, I told my bailiff we were no longer going to meet off record and I never looked back." Bob Batchelor said he was absolutely opposed to this type of plea bargain reform. I couldn't disagree more with his position. The public deserves to know why cases are pled down and deals are made, and everything should be on the record in great detail.
Third, I am a real fiscal conservative. The Court must stop the current process of “padding” its budget (to use Judge Batchelor’s words from Franklin Township Board of Trustees’ Meeting on February 28, 2022) so that it can graciously return money at the end of each fiscal year by court ordering all of the funds it wants from the County Commissioners. Court ordering your budget short circuits budget process and is a strong handed tactic by one branch of government against another.
Fourth, the retention of a part-time magistrate when civil, domestic, and criminal dockets are beginning to rise again in the post-Covid era is a mistake. Currently, if you file a civil case and it is contested in Coshocton County, you will have to wait up to 6-7 months before you get even your first hearing.