Candidate Name: Marilyn Zayas

Judicial Experience (courts and years):
Judge at Ohio’s First District Court of Appeals, 2016 – Present
Judge by special assignment at Ohio’s Second, Sixth, Tenth, and Eighth District Courts of Appeals,
Judge by special assignment at Ohio’s Supreme Court.
Ohio Supreme Court Board on Character & Fitness, Commissioner, December 2018-February 2022.
I have served our community as a judge at Ohio’s First District Court of Appeals since 2016, when I was first elected, winning against an incumbent appointed by the governor. I am the first Latina elected to any Ohio appellate court. In 2018, I was re-elected by an overwhelming majority of over 60% of the voters. I have decided over 1,000 appeals throughout Ohio. Additionally, I have served by appointed of Ohio’s Chief Justice on the Second, Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth District Courts of Appeals and on a case at the Ohio Supreme Court.
Never could I have dreamed as a girl growing up in tough New York City neighborhoods that I would have this opportunity. I moved to Ohio, my utopia, 34 years ago to work in technology with Procter & Gamble. With hard work, dedication, and mentorship, much can be achieved.

What non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?: My background allows me to take an independent approach to each case, with a focus on maintaining integrity and impartiality. I advocated for clients for 20 years from all over the world and from all walks of life. Some were millionaires, some were impoverished. Most spoke English, some did not. Several were persons of color. I treated all of them with the utmost dignity and respect.
I litigated in both state and federal courts. I earned a reputation as an attorney who provides honest and zealous representation while navigating complex and extremely intricate cases.
My legal career began as an intellectual property and labor and employment attorney. Later, I worked for the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office representing adults and juveniles who could not afford to hire an attorney.
I founded my own legal practice which focused on immigration law. I was known as the go-to attorney for complex immigration cases. I handled cases involving foreign investors who were bringing new businesses to America, in addition to family visas and asylum, and a variety of immigration appeals in federal courts.
I am very proud of the work I have done as an appellate judge. I clearly and concisely explain my decisions with the goal that those impacted are confident that their case was fully and fairly resolved. My decisions are detailed, well-analyzed, and rooted in the Constitution and the law.

Why are you running for this particular court seat?: I am running for the Ohio Supreme Court because you deserve a justice who will apply the law equally to all, regardless of circumstances or politics, and who has the courage to take on the challenging issues we are facing in Ohio, understands that a vibrant economy requires people who can realize their potential, and respects the civil liberties we expect, enjoy and are responsible for.
My vast and varied experience enables me to fully understand the complex legal issues we are currently facing. This comes from my experience as an appellate judge, 20 years of experience advocating for clients, career at Procter & Gamble as an IT Manager, and overcoming a tough childhood in New York City. In 2021, I was recognized by Good Morning America for my community contributions, including my work with students.
The issues my campaign is centered on are:
Access and Accountability: I support a statewide publicly accessible sentencing database where anyone can review sentences across counties for similar offenses with similar circumstances. Additionally, I seek to expand specialty dockets that provide proven tools for success including mental health, drug, and veterans’ courts.
Advance resources that reduce the risk of wrongful convictions: This includes implementing the 2002 Ohio Supreme Court’s Racial Fairness and Implementation Taskforce recommendation that all criminal defense attorneys receive formal training in the basics of criminal defense.
Enlarge Student Programs: To foster understanding of our courts and inspire students to dream big regardless of the obstacles they face.Advance resources that reduce the risk of wrongful convictions: This includes implementing the 2002 Ohio Supreme Court’s Racial Fairness and Implementation Taskforce recommendation that all criminal defense attorneys receive formal training in the basics of criminal defense.
Enlarge Student Programs: To foster understanding of our courts and inspire students to dream big regardless of the obstacles they face.