Candidate Name: Sharon L. Kennedy
Judicial Experience (courts and years):
Ohio Supreme Court Associate Justice 2012–Present; Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Division Administrative Judge/Judge 1999–2012; Butler County Area Courts, Magistrate & Warrant Officer, 1995–1998.
What non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?:
Attorney at Law – General Practice, 1991–1998; Effectively and successfully handled criminal, civil, juvenile, probate and domestic relations litigation and appellate matters.
Butler County Juvenile Court: Warrant & Compliance Officer, 1996–1997. Special Counsel to Ohio Attorney General, Betty D. Montgomery 1995–1998.
Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 38: Disciplinary Counsel, 1991–1998.
Butler County Court of Common Pleas: Director, Victim/Witness Division, 1989–1991.
Law Clerk for the Honorable Matthew J. Crehan, Judge
Hamilton Police Department: Police Officer, Civil Assistant, 1985–1989
Why are you running for this particular court seat?:
I am running for the Chief The role of the Chief Justice is unique. The Chief manages the daily operations of the Supreme Court of Ohio while addressing the needs of Ohio’s courts and setting the vision for the future. I am uniquely qualified to serve as Ohio’s next Chief Justice. I have served Ohioans and their communities in the justice system for 37 years – from police officer, to attorney, to trial court judge, and now a Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court. During the last eight years of my service in the trial court I served as the administrative judge of the division performing the same executive tasks that a Chief Justice performs. Ensuring the timely resolution of cases, overseeing and managing the daily operation of the division and effectively resolving issues by working from the premise, “Would the people be better served?”
While serving the legal needs of families and the less fortunate in private practice I partnered with the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division to teach life-skills to juveniles to break the cycle of recidivism. As a trial court judge I collaborated with Butler County Jobs and Family Services and implemented a jobs program to help breakdown the barriers and obstacles to those in need of gainful employment. I also facilitated the Abuse Neglect Improvement Project with the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division. And during tough economic times I formed and facilitated the Budget Workgroup and the Advisory Committee to the Budget Workgroup which developed sound fiscal policies for Butler County.
As an Associate Justice I have initiated “Lean Forward: Advancing the Treatment of Veterans Across Ohio” and annual statewide summit. Through that work I have educated sheriffs, judges, magistrates, and probation and parole officers about the treatment resources available for justice-involved veterans. And I have maintained an active speaking schedule talking to civic organizations and students about our tripartite system of government, the Ohio judicial system and how it affects our daily lives, gives audiences a look behind the scenes at the Ohio Supreme Court and discusses the common misperceptions of the Right of Free Speech. I also encourage young people to chase their American Dream by sharing her journey from police officer to Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.
As Ohio’s next Chief Justice I will continue my “Lean Forward” initiative and will collaborate with local judges, community leaders and the people who access the courts to address the needs of the people Ohio courts serve from the premise “would the people be better served”. Foremost, is the need to timely resolve cases in the aftermath of COVID-19, strengthen and grow specialty courts, address criminal justice reforms while still protecting the safety of victims and communities, and help the people learn more about the judges who serve their communities.