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Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals, Full Term Commencing 2-10-21

The Court of Appeals is essentially a Court of Review. It hears appeals from the Common Pleas, County, and Municipal Courts.Decisions are final except in cases involving Constitutional questions, cases of felony, cases in which it has original jurisdiction, and cases of public or great general interest.Information about the candidate may be found at Judicial Votes

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  • Sarah Thomas Kovoor

  • Cynthia Westcott Rice

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 58
Residence Warren
Education J.D. from University of Akron School of Law and B.A. from University of Rochester
Work Experience Former Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor 1998-2002, Private Practice 2002-Present
I will bring a new outlook and sensible approach to the 11th District Court of Appeals. I am a practicing attorney who has served my community for over 22 years as both an assistant prosecutor and as defense counsel. I have been appointed by the court to represent indigent clients as well as being privately retained counsel in my practice, Kovoor Law, LLC. I have represented clients in courts throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois ranging from Municipal, Family, State, Federal and Appellate Courts. I have litigated thousands of cases in criminal, civil and domestic court and tried more than 40 cases to a verdict. I have a diverse practice and I have represented people from many different cultures, with varied viewpoints and needs.

As such, I am adept at evaluating both sides of an issue. I have successfully fought for many people’s civil rights when government entities over-reached and violated them and in two particular cases, White v. Bukowski, et al., No. 14-3185 (7th Cir. 2015) and Rafferty et al. v. Trumbull Cty, et al, No. 17-4223 (6th Cir. 2019), I won landmark decisions.

My years of experience in the areas of criminal, family and civil rights and appellate law make me uniquely qualified to be a Judge on the 11th District Court of Appeals. On the bench, I will ensure that all parties are heard, that both sides of the issues presented are carefully considered, and the law is consistently applied as written. I will safeguard fairness and justice to the residents of the Eleventh District.
I am running for the 11th District Court of Appeals because I have called Northeast Ohio my home for over 30 years. It is the area where I have practiced law and raised a family. During this time, I have advocated in court for the State and for my clients, both retained and appointed. Through this lifetime of experience, I have had the opportunity to see the good that a Judge can do, both in the courtroom and as a member of the community. When in the courtroom, I will ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to have their appeal heard in a fair and unbiased setting, influenced only by the letter of the law and the evidence presented. As a member of the community, Judges have the opportunity to engage with the public as non-partisan advocates for understanding not only the State Constitution but the American Legal System as a whole. As an immigrant, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to grow up with the protections afforded by the American Legal System and this experience lead me to pursue a career dedicated to these practices and traditions.
Age 62
Residence Brookfield
Education J.D.- University of Akron School of Law; B.S.- Purdue University, Krannert School of Management
Work Experience Judge, Eleventh District Court of Appeals, 2003 – Present; Presiding/Administrative Judge, 2007 & 2016; Administrative Judge, 2020; Preside over appellate cases in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, and Trumbull Counties. See additional information at
Judge, Eleventh District Court of Appeals, 2003 – Present; Presiding/Administrative Judge, 2007, 2016 & 2017; Administrative Judge, 2020; Preside over appellate cases in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage, and Trumbull Counties. Authored over 1,500 appellate decisions and decided over 4,000 appeals.

Ohio Judicial Conference – Executive Committee, 2011 – present; Criminal Law & Procedure Committee co-chair, 2011 – present; Appellate Law & Procedure Committee, 2013 – present; Ohio Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Court Security, 2013 – present
Prior to taking the bench, I spent 12 years as a state and federal criminal prosecutor. I prosecuted all major crimes including capital murder, murder, rape, bank robbery, cyberstalking and gang violence. As a criminal prosecutor, I gained experience in the courtroom trying cases to juries. During my service on the bench, I have been able to contribute insight into nuances of criminal procedure that have assisted our court in delivering sound, well-reasoned opinions.

– Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, 1991- 1999

– United States Attorney’s Office, 1999 – 2002; Assistant United States Attorney, General Crimes Division, Youngstown, Ohio Responsible for prosecuting to trial assigned federal offenses including firearms violations, drug trafficking, cyberstalking and bank robbery.

– Special Assistant United States Attorney, 1997 – 1999

– Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, 1991 – 1999; First Assistant, Criminal Division Responsible for overseeing all felony criminal prosecutions. See additional information at
I have served the 11th District as a judge for the past 18 years. I believe my legal experience is an asset to the court. The majority of my legal practice prior to taking the bench was as a state and federal prosecutor. Approximately half of our appellate cases are criminal. Presently, none of the current judges have an extensive background in criminal law and procedure.

During my service on the appellate bench, I have been able to contribute insight into nuances of criminal procedure that have assisted our court in delivering sound, well-reasoned opinions. Having practiced as an Assistant United States Attorney, I am more familiar with differences between state and federal criminal laws. This enables me to better determine how U.S. Supreme Court decisions that address federal cases affect Ohio’s criminal justice system.

I have worked in various positions with the Ohio Judicial Conference for over ten years. The judicial conference provides research and impact statements on legislation that affects the administration of justice in Ohio. The goal of the Ohio Judicial Conference is to improve the judiciary from within the judicial branch and to recommend legislation where needed. I would like to continue my work with the Ohio Judicial Conference during my upcoming term on the bench. Judicial education is a critical part of ensuring a strong judiciary. I have assisted other appellate judges in teaching the new appellate judges’ educational seminar. I have also taught various continuing legal education courses for the local bar associations in our district. I find teaching intellectually challenging and hope to continue contributing in this manner. And last but not least, I will serve as the Ohio Court of Appeals Judges’ Association Chief Judge in 2020. I am looking forward to this responsibility and challenge.