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Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Division (term commencing 2/14/2021)

Salary: $121,350Term: 6 yearsResponsibilities: To rule in cases involving persons under 18 years of age. The Juvenile Court has authority in cases of delinquency, unruliness, juvenile traffic offenses, abuse, neglect, and dependency. The Juvenile Court may be part of the Court of Domestic Relations or the Probate Court.For more information on judicial candidates visit:

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    Kari L. Bloom

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    John M. Williams

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 @KBforJudge
Occupation I am a trial attorney at the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office. My work allows me to represent the county's indigent population and protect their rights during criminal prosecutions.
Education I graduated from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law in 2011 with a Public Service designation. In 2008, I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Political Science.
Experience After graduating from law school, I worked for the United States Air Force as a civilian attorney. In 2012, I started as a trial attorney in the public defender's office, where I've worked for 6 years. I also spent 3 years as a legislative liaison.
Family Nick Klingensmith, Fiancé
Endorsements Hamilton County Democratic Party, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Former School Board Member Ozie Davis, Cincinnati Councilmembers PG Sittenfeld & Greg Landsman, OH Senator Cecil Thomas, State Representatives Sedrick Denson & Brigid Kelly, Ret. Judge Fanon Rucker, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, IBEW Local 212, UAW CAP, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, Bold New Democracy, AFSCME Council 8, Ohio Young Democrats, Laborers Local 265,Equality Cincinnati PAC, Run for Something
Affliations Cincinnati Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
Political Party Affiliation Endorsed Democrat
I have worked as a public defender for almost my entire career. I have seen the differences in how justice is administered based on race, income, and class. My experience also gives me insight into how those charged with crimes have likely been victimized, and vice versa. We must consider each person as a whole if we are going to achieve criminal justice reform. My courtroom will be a hub for social services to provide resources and opportunites for restorative justice.
Being a Judge means following the law at all times. Ohio law requires all warrants to include a sworn statement with specificity in name, location, property to be searched, and what crime law enforcement is pursuing with the warrant. As a Judge, I will require all search warrant applications to comply with Ohio law and exercise extreme scrutiny before approval. Abolishing no-knock warrants can only happen if there is a change to Ohio's laws.
The law requires Judges to administer justice equally under the law. That means that I will have an open and accessible courtroom, I will hold attorneys to high standards, require professionalism at all times, and treat each person with respect. I will bring transparency to the court. Further, I will ensure that the court has a staff diverse in experience, race, and culture who have all been trained in the importance of recognizing their own biases.
Twitter @judgejwilliams
Occupation Judge. Leading Hamilton County Juvenile Court since 2011. Implemented programs that achieved national, state and local recognition. Responsible for approximately 290 employees, detention facility, probation department and behavioral health clinic.
Education St. Xavier High School '79 Xavier University, B.A. '83 Thomas Cooley Law School, J.D. '92
Experience As Judge, I presided over thousands of cases involving abused, neglected and delinquent children, as well as family matters. My experience includes over 30 years as judge, magistrate, organizational leader, prosecutor, and small business owner.
Family Married to my wife, Sarah, for 23 years. Father of 3 sons and my dog Lily.
Endorsements Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union, Local 48; Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police, Queen City Lodge 69; Hamilton County GOP; Cincinnati Right to Life PAC; Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Mechanical Equipment Service Techs, Local 392; and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Local 24. Out of 26 candidates, the only judicial candidate to earn the highest excellent ratings in every category on the Cincinnati Bar Association Judicial Candidate Poll 2020.
Affliations American Bar Association, Judicial Instructor; Ohio Judicial College, Faculty; Potter Stewart Inn of Court; Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges, Member; Ohio State Bar Association, Member; Cincinnati Bar Association, Member; Xavier Baseball, Dad; Irish Heritage Center of Cincinnati, Member; and St. Mary’s Church, Member.
Each day, I strive to provide access to justice for all. For example, our Court dramatically expanded school and community diversion opportunities; 67% of these cases involved children of color. Our Kids in School Rule! program achieved a 95% graduation rate for kids in foster care; racial minorities comprised 81.5% of the kids served. In 2017, our Court partnered with Legal Aid to open a free Custody Clinic, which served over 1,700 low-income families seeking a safe home for children at risk.
As Judge, I have never issued a no-knock warrant. During my 10 years as a prosecuting attorney, I never advised law enforcement to pursue a no-knock warrant. No-knock warrants should be reserved for only the most extraordinary circumstances.
Examples of our ongoing commitment to provide equitable treatment include: addressed implicit bias through a detention screening tool to guide intake decisions; selected by Georgetown University School Justice and Diversion Pathways Program to work with school and community partners to promote racial equity and address disparate discipline for vulnerable students; and developed a school threat assessment program that received the Ohio State Bar Association 2020 Innovative Practice Award.