Director of the Juvenile Division of the Law Office of the Hamilton County Public Defender.
BA, Speech Communications, Muskingum College, New Concord, OH
Juris Doctor, Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Highland Heights, KY
Current, Director, Juvenile Div, Hamilton Co Public Defender; 2012-18 Team Leader, Juvenile Div, Hamilton Co Public Defender; 2007-12 Staff Attorney, Hamilton Co Public Defender; 2011-19 Group Fitness Instructor, YMCA; 1998-2005 News Reporter/Anchor
Married. Three children, ages 15, 12 and 9.
Cincinnati Women’s Political Caucus;
Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council;
IBEW Local 212;
Ohio AFSCME Power in Action;
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers;
Thaddeus Hoffmeister, Mayor of the City of Wyoming, Ohio;
Aftab Pureval, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts;
Senator Sherrod Brown;
1889 Friends of the Sentinels;
Bold New Democracy;
Equality Cincinnati PAC
Cincinnati Association of Criminal; Defense Lawyers
National Association for Public Defense;
Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati;
Black Public Defender Association;
Silverton Democratic Club, Officer
Political Party Affiliation
It’s time for “Smart Justice,” which means that when appropriate, working to find alternatives to incarceration and utilizing programs that promote accountability, but also protect against disparities. My approach will always be to act thoughtfully, fairly and effectively. As Judge, I will work with other system actors to promote equal enforcement of the law; reform cash bail; and create programs that will rehabilitate, reduce recidivism, and strengthen protections for vulnerable populations.
As a judicial candidate, I am bound by the Cannon of Judicial Ethics. I cannot say how I would rule on a case, but I can say I will follow the law.
Right now, we have a criminal legal system that is punitive, expensive, ineffective and full of disparities. As a long-time public defender, I have had the privilege to defended and work for children and adults from many different backgrounds. It is time that we also have judges who are diverse in background and experience and are a reflection of the community they serve. I will be thorough and fair, and I will treat every person in my courtroom equally and with the utmost dignity and respect.
Judge, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas
Salmon P. Chase College of Law, J.D. 1993, cum laude; The Ohio State University, B.A. 1984, Political Science.
Judge, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, February 2003 – present; Presiding Judge, January 2012 – December 2012, January 2019 - December 2019, January 2020 - present, Santen & Hughes, Associate and Partner, November 1992 – December 2002.
Married with two children
Equality Cincinnati; Plumber, Pipefitters & M.E.S. Local 392; Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge #69; Cincinnati Right to Life
Political Party Affiliation
As a judge for over 17 years, my primary job is to apply the law as written in a just, equitable matter and with fairness to all parties. In that role I am not in a position to make public policy, however, I do work to ensure equal access to justice in my courtroom every day. I am also presiding administrative judge for the Court of Common Pleas. Mindful of racial disparities in our justice system, I have created a blue ribbon panel to study potential changes to our jury selection system.
The execution of no-knock warrants present unique issues concerning public safety. I am deeply saddened by the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville during the execution of such a warrant. I have not approved such a warrant during my judicial career and can assure that any future request would be subject to a high level of scrutiny. Any decision to ban the practice, however, is ultimately one for the legislature.
One of the most important things I do as a judge is to maintain both the manifest appearance of impartiality on the bench and true impartiality with regard to my decisions. It is important to me to respect everyone regardless of race, color or creed and to ensure that no one leaves my courtroom feeling they were treated unfairly. Public defenders are appointed to any criminal defendant without the ability to pay. Mental health and substance abuse treatment are options for those who need.