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Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas - General Division (term commencing 1/1/2021)

Salary: $121,350 Term: 6 yrs Responsibilities: To preside at trials of both civil and criminal cases; to supervise the jury commission, grand jury, and other departments of the court.

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    Melba D. Marsh

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    Heidi Rosales

Biographical Information

What kinds of policies, if any, will you pursue to promote social and racial justice in our community? (500 characters)

Would you approve requests for no-knock warrants from law enforcement? If so, what considerations influence your decision? (500 characters)

How will you work to provide all defendants coming through your courtroom equal treatment, regardless of race, gender, ability to pay, or mental status? (500 characters)

Twitter @JudgeMelba
Occupation Common Pleas Court Judge
Education J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law; B.A., College of Mt. St. Joseph; Seton High School
Experience Over 30 years of Judicial Experience; 7 years on Hamilton Municipal Court and over 23 years on Hamilton County Common Pleas Court
Family Single
Endorsements FOP Queen City Lodge #69
Affliations St Joseph Catholic Church - West End; Former Board Member of Queen City Educational Foundation
Political Party Affiliation Republican
In 1999, I was appointed by former Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer to serve as a member of The Ohio Commission on Racial Fairness. In the May 26, 2017 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer, the headline read “Everyone in the Pool?” , concerning the topic of jury inclusion. As then Presiding Judge of the Court, I made my feelings known in that article. Ohio should adopt a jury selection method similar to that of Indiana where nearly 100% of the population would be eligible to serve as a juror.
Ohio’s “No-Knock” requirements are FAR more stringent than most states. Specific facts must be shown: WHO poses the risk of harm, WHO occupies a location, WHO is likely to be found at that location, WHAT is the basis of police belief that a particular person will be found at the location. Judges take an oath to follow the law. As long as “No-Knock” warrants are authorized by Ohio Law, I will use my experience and judgment to meet requirements necessary in considering the validity of the request
No matter who walks into the courtroom and for whatever reason – criminal defendants, attorneys, police or witnesses - my goal is to make their court appearance a positive one. In other words, to follow the principles of “Procedural Justice” as taught through a variety of courses by the Ohio Judicial College. Procedural Fairness or Procedural Justice is the way people perceive fairness of court proceedings. The principles are: Voice, Neutrality, Respect, Trust, Understanding and Helpfulness.
Occupation I am currently a Senior Assistant Solicitor for the City of Cincinnati, specializing in Labor and Employment.
Education I earned a B.A. in History from the University of Dayton in 1992 and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in 1995.
Experience I have been practicing law for 24 years. I have been a solo practitioner, public defender, prosecutor, law firm associate and government lawyer. I have represented a variety of clients in both civil and criminal law.
Family I am married and my husband and I have one son who attends a Cincinnati Public School.
Endorsements Hamilton County Democratic Party U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Equality Cincinnati PAC Cincinnati AFL-CIO UFCW Local 75 Cincinnati Women's Political Caucus Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Ohio AFSCME Power in Action Greater Cincinnati UAW CAP Council Bold New Democracy Thaddeus Hoffmeister, Mayor of Wyoming, Ohio
Affliations Ohio Audubon Society
Political Party Affiliation Democrat
I would pursue two specific policies that would create transparency, lead to accountability and increase diversity in our courts. A criminal sentencing data base, that is publicly accessible, would shine a much needed light on how judges administer justice. To quote a judge panelist in a webinar that I attended on this subject,"data collection is the solution to systemic racism." Expanding the pool of potential jurors from voters to state ID holders would increase diversitiy in juries.
As a judge I would be required to follow the law. The law requires an officer to affirm, based on a good cause belief, that there is a risk of serious physical harm to the officers executing the warrant and the officer would be required to list the facts upon which they have that belief. Because this is such a serious request I would very carefully review the facts upon which the request is made and hold the request to the steep standard that is spelled out in the statute.
The first thing I would do is attend implicit bias training. I have attended this type of training in the past but would seek out implicit bias training specific to judges. This would help me identify and avoid any potential disparity. But above and beyond training I think the best thing is to act in accordance with the Golden Rule. I would strive to treat each person that comes before me as I would want myself or my family to be treated.