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Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge

Term: 6 yearsSalary: $125,850Judge K.J. Montgomery is running unopposed for her fifth (and last--she will have "aged up") term as head of the Shaker Heights Municipal Court. The court's jurisdiction includes Beachwood, Hunting Valley, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, and University Heights. In Ohio, municipal courts handle cases involving traffic and non-traffic misdemeanors, evictions, and small civil claims (in which the amount in controversy does not exceed than $15,000).
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    Kathy "K.J." Montgomery (I) Judge, Shaker Heights Municipal Court

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Biographical Information

List your judicial experience (courts and years).

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Why are you running for this particular court seat?

Age 65
Education Cleveland Marshall College of Law (1974-1977) Juris Doctor – Niagra Moot Court Best Brief (1974), Order of the Barrister. Heidelberg College (1970-1974) B. Music – Salutatorian of the class; Valedictorian of School of Music, Senior Laureate, Tau Mu Sigma Honorary, Tau Mu Sigma Scholarship recipient, Mabel Kinley Award. Mentor High School (1970) 10th class standing
Residence municipality Shaker Heights
1994–Present, Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge, Single-judge court with an annual caseload of 12,000 cases serving Beachwood, Hunting Valley, Pepper Pike, Shaker Hts. and University Hts. Other experience: 1994-present, Cuyahoga County Corrections Planning Board, Suburban Court Representative-Board approves Common Pleas Court funding for various court programs. 2003-present, Cuyahoga County Mental Health Court Initiative Participant: Collaboration of all mental-health-associated courts, service providers, law enforcement and others to deliver services to defendants with mental illness. Founding member (2003) Chairperson (2004–2012). Author of CCMHCI Mental Health Procedures for Municipal Judges Handbook. 2003-present, Cuyahoga County Justice Management Institute Commission and Felony Pilot Program (Justice System Reform): Organized to implement improvements to the justice system in Cuyahoga County. Founding member (2003) Suburban Court representative (2008 – present) 2008 – 2011 VAWA Coordinated Community Response Initiative Judicial Rep: Violence Against Women’s Act Initiative with John Carroll University to develop educational programming and awareness of sexual assault on college campuses. 2010-present, Cleveland Re-entry Leadership Coalition: A collaborative effort associated with the ADAMHS Board bringing together social services, adult parole office prison officials, legal aid and others to provide guidance to felons leaving prison. (more at JudicialVotesCount.org)
Prior to being elected judge, my private practice included handling criminal defense and civil matters of many kinds. At the same time, I held the various municipal positions of prosecutor, law director and tax administrator thus experiencing the law from the side of the municipalities and the public I represented. Raising my own children, I was involved with the Shaker Schools and experienced the diverse and amazing children who would become the next generation of leaders. I had the good fortune to be raised by a single mother who believed a woman could do it all. She did. At the same time she sang opera for President Truman, she cleaned houses and sewed clothing for others.Together, we roofed and painted houses and changed the car oil. I’ve additionally been fortunate to be an ovarian cancer survivor of 27 years and have watched as alcoholic family members maintain sobriety. I believe this amazing journey has assisted me to always value the person before me – to listen, to learn and, in my judicial role, always attempt to strike the right balance of protecting the public, meting out appropriate punishment to deter future bad behavior, and to provide guidance and access to available resources in order to educate, treat addictions and address issues of mental illness with the goals of improving social behavior and preventing recidivism.

This will be my last term as Judge of the Shaker Heights Municipal Court. There is much work in progress and I would like to continue to serve this constituency and the criminal justice system with that work.The many committees on which I serve stand to improve the criminal justice system not only in this court district but county and state-wide dealing with so many important issues like domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, fast and effective alcohol and drug treatment, access to mental health care services, and much more. Protecting our neighborhoods, maintaining our housing stock and educating our youth are of utmost importance locally. I ask to continue to work with your police and elected officials to make Shaker the best court that it can be. Continuing to learn while sharing the wisdom acquired in my 43 years in public service is my personal goal.

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