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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge, 1/2/2018

Term: 6 yearsSalary: $125,850Municipal Court Judge Janet Rath Colaluca, Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Russo, and Municipal Court Judge Jazmin Torres-Lugo are running for the term beginning 1/2/2018.
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    Janet Rath Colaluca Judge

  • Joseph Russo Judge

  • Jazmin Torres-Lugo Judge

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Biographical Information

List your judicial experience (courts and years).

What about your non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?

Why are you running for this particular court seat?

Age 51
Education JD-Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (1991), BSBA-John Carroll University (1986), St. Joseph Academy High School (1982), Our Lady of Angels Grade School (1978)
Residence municipality Cleveland
Work experience Combined nearly 20 years of judicial service as a Judge or Magistrate in the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Practicing attorney for over 25 years, Maintained a Private Practice when not serving as a Judge or full-time Magistrate.
Affiliations Member: Gesu Catholic Church, (Room Parent-Gesu School), Ohio Judicial Conference, Association of Municipal County Judges of Ohio, Inc., Northern Ohio Municipal Judges Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Ohio Women’s Bar Association, Westshore Bar Association, Justinian Forum, Cleveland Lawyers’ Guild, Judicial Conference of the 8th Judicial District, Past Member: Board of Trustees of the Junior League of Cleveland, Inc., Past Committee member: Ronald McDonald House Familia Luncheon-Fashion Show, Templum House (Domestic Violence Shelter) Luncheon Fundraiser Committee, Healthhill Hospital for Children-Past Co-Chair of Annual Fundraiser, Featured as a “Rising Star” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Endorsements Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local No. 19, Journeymen Plumbers Union, Local No. 55, ACOPS Local 15 (American Coalition of Public Safety)
Bar Association Ratings Not yet available
Judge- Cleveland Municipal Court (2016-Present); Judge- Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court (2012-2014); Magistrate- Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court (1998-2004); Magistrate- Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court (2008-2011); Magistrate- Cuyahoga County Probate Court (2015-2016); Magistrate- Bratenahl Mayor’s Court (2005-2012); (Combined nearly 20 years of Judicial Service)
I have had the honor of serving the families and residents of the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County for a combined, nearly 20 years, of judicial service, as both a Judge and a Magistrate. While I was not sitting in the Court as a Judge or a full-time Magistrate, I maintained a private practice, concentrating in matters of family law and handled municipal court matters. The Ohio Judicial Canons prohibit Judges and full-time Magistrates from engaging in the private practice of law, while on the bench. I am a Certified Mediator (as designated by the Ohio Supreme Court) and I have continuously applied my skills as such, both on the bench as a Judge and Magistrate, and in my private practice, where I was able to guide the parties involved to an efficient, fair, and positive resolution. I have made a cornerstone of my private practice the practice of “giving back to the legal community” by performing pro-bono legal services. I would routinely “forgive” the outstanding legal fees incurred by certain clients who found themselves in difficult emotional and financial hardships, and would continue to represent these individuals at no cost to them. I believe doing so, was for the greater good of the community and was I was proud to be able to do so.
I am committed to continuing my judicial service to the residents of the City of Cleveland for many reasons. Each day, before I put on the black robe, I reflect upon a quote from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Injustice somewhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” (In fact, I have this quote placed above the hook where the robe hangs.) I strongly believe that the Judges of the Cleveland Municipal Court must strive, each and every day, to insure that all individuals who find themselves before the Court be treated fairly, with dignity and that their fundamental rights are protected, thereby insuring that justice prevails. I believe the Cleveland Municipal Court is truly a “problem solving” Court, which “meets people where they are” and offers many programs and specialized Dockets to assist individuals in “getting back on and staying on track.” It is so very gratifying, as a Judge in the Court, to be able to not simply move individuals through the Court system. Rather, we, as Judges, have the ability to address certain of the underlying social causes which often contribute to the offenders’ finding themselves in Court, by customizing remedies that, hopefully, will assist with those issues and eliminate an escalation or further behavior. Specifically, the Court offers programs on its specialized dockets including: Drug Court, Mental Health Docket, Human Trafficking Docket, and Veteran’s Treatment Docket. Read more at judicialvotescount.org.
Age 59
Education J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; B.B.A. from Cleveland State; St. Peter Chanel High School
Residence municipality Cleveland
Qualifications for office 14 years experience as Juvenile Court Judge with 7 years as Administrative Judge and 3 years as Presiding Drug Court Judge
Work experience 14 years, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge; 12 years, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor; 2 years, private practice; 2 years, Rauser & Associates
Affiliations Previous Ohio State Bar Association; Cleveland-Metro Bar Association; Justinian Forum; National Association of Family and Juvenile Court Judges; Cuyahoga County Criminal Justice Board; U.S. Attorney Anti-Gang Initiative; Olmsted Travel Baseball Association
Endorsements N/A
Bar Association Ratings N/A
14 years experience as Juvenile Court Judge with 7 years as Administrative Judge and 3 years as Presiding Drug Court Judge
12 years experience as Assistant County Prosecutor with 6 years as a supervising prosecutor at Juvenile Court. I have extensive trial experience prosecuting cases ranging from murder to minor traffic violations. 2 years experience working at Rauser & Associates handling bankruptcy cases for debtors. 2 years in the general practice of law concentrating on criminal defense and various civil litigation.
I am running to make a difference in the lives of individuals who come before the Court. I also desire to continue reforms in the Municipal Court system including bail reform, expansion of specialized dockets including drug court, and to increase use of diversion and mediation programs.
Age 56
Education J.D. Interamerican University, Puerto Rico
Residence municipality Cleveland
Work experience I have been an attorney for 29 years mainly in all criminal and civil cases for municipal courts
Affiliations Member of Black Women’s PAC,; Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center; Cuyahoga County Democratic Women’s Caucus and Cleveland Municipal Court Mental Health Docket
Endorsements Cuyahoga County Democratic Party; Congresswoman Marcia Fudge; AFL-CIO; AFCSME; Teamsters Local 507 and Local 1099
Bar Association Ratings Not yet available
In 2003 I received an appointment for the Cleveland Municipal Court. I have been an attorney for 29 years where the bulk of my criminal and civil cases have been in municipal courts throughout Ohio. I have trial experience with jury trials and bench trials. In my race I have the most experience in all cases related to Cleveland Municipal Court. As a private practitioner I have provided free legal work to single mothers and seniors.
My years of community involvement with different organizations as: Member of Black Women’s PAC,; Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center; Cuyahoga County Democratic Women’s Caucus and Cleveland Municipal Court Mental Health Docket, provides me with a better understanding of the different social, personal and legal issues affecting the community that I will be serving as a judge. I have been a member of the Cleveland community for 26 years, I have served all walks of life, I have had my own personal challenges that I had to overcome: at 31, coming to a new community, with my family, and with Spanish as my first language, I not only learned English but I passed the Ohio Bar Examination and have served the community since then. I am an example that we can go through challenges, some more difficult than others, however we only need to start, with one step at a time, and the willingness to make a change in order to come out of the situation. Looking at the problem and not being proactive to change behavior, would not change the circumstances. We together can help each other to make a positive difference in our society.
As a citizen of the inner city of Cleveland and as an attorney, I have contributed and served the community for many years. Thus, I would want to continue to serve the community as a judge. My passion has been practicing at the Cleveland Municipal Court (CMC), which serves a very diverse community. Hence, the judicial composition of Cleveland Municipal Court needs to depict the constituents of our community. When elected, I will be the first elected Hispanic judge in the Cleveland Municipal Court. My legal experience at the Municipal Courts grants me with the experience to serve as a judge efficiently, with justice, dignity, and respect. As a mother of three and a grandmother of three, I have the compassion and firmness to make balanced decisions. Cleveland Municipal Court is a court that offers various designated dockets, giving individuals the opportunity to change their lives for the better and to make positive changes to prevent further criminal activities that can take them to the felony level and most serious consequences.

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