Making Democracy Work

Info from JudicialVotesCount.org - Justice of Supreme Court of Ohio (Term Beginning 1/2/2019)

CANDIDATE MARY DEGENARO

Responses are printed exactly as received

Candidate: MARY DEGENARO

Website: http://degenaroforjustice.com/
Occupation: Justice Supreme Court of Ohio

Education: 1986 JD Cleveland State University; 1983 BA Youngstown State University

Work Experience:
January, 2018-date Justice Supreme Court of Ohio; 2001-January, 2018 Judge 7th District Court of Appeals; 1986-2001 Appellate/General Practice Attorney Youngstown Ohio; 2011-2013 Adjunct Faculty Youngstown State University Political Science Department

Judicial Experience (courts and years): January, 2018-date Justice Supreme Court of Ohio 2001-January, 2018 Judge Ohio 7th District Court of Appeals, serving Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe & Noble Counties. (elected 2000, re-elected 2006 & 2012) Sat by assignment on 10 cases with the Ohio Supreme Court; also sat by assignment with 6 other Appellate Districts across Ohio. Served as Administrative/Presiding Judge for 2 two-year terms, 2007-2008 and 2013-14.

What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
My 33 year legal career has been dedicated to appellate practice, which is a unique writing style and very different from trial court and academic writing. I had extensive experience as an attorney; over 25 appeals before the 7th and 11th Districts and two before the Ohio Supreme Court which are rare achievements for a civil attorney. Over 17 years as a judge, I wrote 1,000+ opinions in over 3,000 cases. In several significant cases appealed to the Supreme Court my reasoning was adopted and became the law in Ohio. I grew up in Cleveland Heights and my family moved to Youngstown when I was 15, where I live today. Many family members, including my husband and son, belonged to unions and I was able to go to college because of the state university system, by living with family and working as a waitress and sales clerk. In law school I interned at a hospital legal department and for a federal trial judge My life experience and having served eight counties made up of urban, suburban, rural, agricultural and manufacturing communities has enabled me to build relationships with the people I serve, and expertise in a variety of legal issues. More important, it keeps me committed to fairly and impartially decide every case, and treat every party, attorney, court employee and member of the public with respect. I belong to numerous boards and organizations to improve the practice of law, judging and my community. It is a joyful responsibility to serve on the Youngstown Library Board, Ohio Civility Consortium, and Appellate Specialty Board for example. I am a leader in the Ohio judiciary on ethics and professionalism, and am also a voice for civility in the profession, civic engagement and daily life. Through my involvement with the Ohio Women's Bar Association, we have been addressing issues of recruitment, retention and advancement of women, and I recently participated in a joint Supreme Court/Ohio State Bar Association half-day presentation on sexual harassment in the legal profession. Also as an OWBA officer and justice, I have been able to begin the conversation with leaders in the legal profession about reinstituting mandatory education for judges and lawyers on substance abuse and other ways for the profession to address the drug/alcohol/opioid crisis which is affecting everyone in some way throughout Ohio.

Why are you running for this particular court seat?
In addition to deciding cases, I believe a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court has additional responsibilities: 1) improve access to and the administration of justice on the Supreme Court and statewide; 2) educate the public about the work of judges and lawyers; and 3) public service to improve the lives of Ohioans. I have a passion for literacy, civic education and civility, and as a justice I have a platform to bring attention to these issues and the opportunity to promote programs that will make a difference. To successfully improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our courts and the practice of law, relationships with judges, lawyers and the public across the Ohio is important. I have built those relationships over 17 years as an active member of the Ohio Judicial Conference, the Ohio Civility Consortium, the Ohio State and Women's Bar Associations. For example, I helped put together a panel of health professionals and women in recovery for an OWBA seminar on substance abuse. I encourage the creation of, as well as promote and educate the public about specialty courts which address drug abuse, human trafficking and other criminal and juvenile/family issues. This is a creative tool for judges to address the opioid/drug/mental health crisis and to stop the revolving court/jail door. Finally, the Supreme Court decides what cases it will hear; hundreds of requests are filed but less than 10% are accepted. Since I've joined the Court, we have tested and implemented a new process to review the requests, and we still thoughtfully but more efficiently make that decision. I also believe as a justice it's important for me to be accessible to the public and dispel the myths popular culture and TV have created about the legal system, so they understand the work that lawyers and judges really do every day in Ohio\'s courts to help people: start a business, guide them through a divorce, help them with an adoption, and protect their civil rights. There are still countries around the world which don't have the independent legal system we do. I am honored to be serving as a Justice, and am proud to be a part of a team of over 200 professional, dedicated people at the Court who work every day to make the Judicial System in Ohio the best it can be.



CANDIDATE MELODY J. STEWART

Responses are printed exactly as received

Candidate: MELODY J. STEWART

Website: http://www.StewartForOhioSupremeCourt.com
Occupation: Judge on the Ohio Court of Appeals + Eighth District

Education: Beaumont High School; B.Mus. ~ College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati; J.D. ~ Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University; Ph.D. ~ Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University; Honorary Doctor of Laws ~ Cleveland State University

Work Experience:
Ohio Court of Appeals Judge; Supreme Court of Ohio sitting judge by assignment of the Chief Justice; University of Toledo College of Law ~ law professor; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law ~ law professor, assistant dean, lecturer; Case Western Reserve School of Law ~ director; Ursuline College ~ Adjunct Instructor; City of Euclid ~ Board of Planning and Zoning chair & vice-chair; City of Cleveland and City of East Cleveland ~ Assistant Director of Law; Annashae Corporation ~ Office Manager.

Judicial Experience (courts and years):
I have been a Court of Appeals Judge since 2006 responsible for hearing and ruling on appeals and original actions. I was the Court's Administrative Judge in 2013. During my tenure, I have sat on the Ohio Supreme Court to hear cases by assignment of the Chief Justice. Additionally, I am currently the chair of the Ohio Capital Case Attorney Fee Council which is comprised of Court of Appeals Judges from various districts across the state responsible for setting the compensation rate for attorneys who are appointed to represent individuals being tried in death penalty cases; I am on the Board of Trustees for the Judicial College of the Ohio Supreme Court which provides continuing legal education for judges, judicial officers and court personnel throughout the state; and I served as the Court of Appeals representative on the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee which is a bi-partisan committee created by the General Assembly to study the state's existing criminal statutes, with the goal of enhancing public safety and the administration of criminal justice throughout the state of Ohio. The Committee is composed of twenty four individuals with extensive experience in criminal justice, law enforcement, and public safety. I also serve on the Appellate Law and Procedure Committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference; the Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association; and served on the Supreme Court's Judicial College Appellate Judges Curriculum Committee. I teach continuing legal education courses to judges and lawyers across the state.

What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?
I have over 30 years of diverse legal experience. I practiced law, taught law, and was published in the law all before becoming an appellate court judge. Additionally having a background in music, business management, law practice and teaching, and social science makes me a more well-rounded candidate with a stronger academic background and greater diversity of thought, intellect, and experience. I have always been involved in my local and the larger state community serving on boards and committees because I feel that work is also a part of my responsibility as an elected official. Most importantly, I am an excellent public servant and always have been. I take a great deal of pride in my work. I have worked in the private and public sectors and I work the same in both. I am efficient, effective, respectful of everyone, and am a good steward of fiscal resources.

Why are you running for this particular court seat?
I am running for the Ohio Supreme Court for several reasons. My diverse educational and professional experiences make me the stronger and better candidate for the Court. In addition to the perspective which I bring that is currently missing on the Supreme Court, I will work to help reform our judicial system to make it more efficient, more effective, more accountable, and more responsive to the people it serves. I also want to provide to the citizens of the state the same good service that I have provided to the citizens of my county over the past three decades. Finally, the Supreme Court is currently comprised of justices who all belong to the same political party. That is not a good composition for our state, particularly since, with rare exception, the Court gets to decide which cases it will hear. I think it is naive at best and insulting at worst to think that the citizens of a state as diverse as Ohio is can have confidence in the highest level of our judiciary being made up of justices who all belong to the same political party + regardless of the party. As a nominee different from the current make up of the court, my election improves the court from day one. Finally, I have had the privilege of being educated by some of the best colleges and universities our state has to offer (and our state has a lot of great colleges and universities). I was taught at a very young age that you always leave a place better off than it was when you got there and that, if you have the credentials and the ability to be part of the solution to any problem and you don't make the effort to be part of that solution, then you are + or you become + part of the problem. I hope voters see fit to make me part of the solution.