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Portage County Court of Common Pleas - General Division

The jurisdiction of the Common Pleas Court General Division covers three categories of cases: criminal, civil and administrative. The Criminal docket of the court handles the most serious crimes, including misdemeanors, felonies and capital murder. The Civil docket includes personal injury, business disputes, property matters and equity cases. Some of the administrative cases of the Common Pleas Court General Division are zoning, workers' compensation and employment matters. In all cases the Court issues a final ruling which may be appealed to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals and/or the Supreme Court of Ohio. Term: 6 years.https://www.co.portage.oh.us/common-pleas-courtInformation about the candidate may be found at Judicial Votes Count:www.judicialvotescount.org

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  • Becky Doherty

  • Michael Noble

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 57
Residence Ravenna
Education University of Akron
Work Experience Common Pleas Judge 6 years, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Summit County 18 years, Chief Criminal Prosecutor Mahoning County 5 years, In house counsel Allstate 18 months, Law Director Village of Lakemore 8 years
Common Pleas Judge Portage County since January 1, 2015. I handle approximately 700 criminal and over 300 civil cases a year.
Experience and commitment is vital to effectively do this job. I have tried over 200 jury trials including Aggravated Murder, Rape, Kidnapping, Aggravated Robbery, complex Organized Crime, and Drug Trafficking. I have prosecuted 22 Death Penalty cases both in Summit County and Mahoning County. I tried numerous personal injury cases while representing insured defendants. I am active in the community and understand the responsibility of the Court to be transparent and visible.
I love the law and my job, and will continue to work hard to make our communities safer and healthier. I started HOPE Drug Court soon after I took office and was certified by the Ohio Supreme Court March 2017. Our unique program combines stringent counseling and accountability to prepare participants for life after court. HOPE Court won the Celebrate Portage Public Health Initiative Award in 2019 due to the team’s dedication and commitment to the program. The Paris Work Release Program I initiated gives select jail inmates the opportunity to work while incarcerated to save money, pay fines prepare for housing, pay child support and be employed upon release. My position gives me the ability to address the drug epidemic in a profound way, while protecting the community at the same time.

I have the experience to handle complex criminal and civil cases in a manner that is fair to all parties. I believe it is imperative that a common pleas Judge possess litigation skills to effectively and correctly handle the vast array of cases assigned to the courts. I have that experience, and utilize it every day on the bench.
Age 44
Residence Kent
Education J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Work Experience Owner/Operator of Allen Drain Service, Inc. 2003-2011; Attorney/Solo Practitioner 2012-2014; Partner at Lentz, Noble & Heavner, LLC 2014-present
This is my first opportunity to serve as a judge
As a general practitioner and partner at a local law firm, I have a broad wealth of legal experience. I have represented clients in Common Pleas Court, Municipal Court, Probate Court, Juvenile Court, and Appellate Court. I have tried cases in every court, to Magistrates, Judges, and Juries. I have assisted clients in dealing with a variety of administrative matters before governmental agencies. As a result, I have a comprehensive understanding of the law and rules that govern the many different areas of the legal field. This experience has given me the ability to take facts and circumstances in any legal dispute and work towards a fair and just resolution. My time in private practice has afforded me the opportunity to assist people during the most challenging times in their lives. I’ve developed a strong ability to be understanding and compassionate about their individual situations. Every case is unique in its facts and circumstances. My detailed and open-minded approach to every case has served me very well in advocating for my clients. Having had the opportunity to work many cases where my clients were in the wrong has given me the ability to employ a tactful, commonsense approach in order to facilitate a positive result in light of the issues presented. From owning and operating a corporation to forging my own path as an independent practitioner, I’ve learned the importance of being patient and courteous with others in order to bring out and maximize efficiency and potential. Throughout these endeavors, I faced many challenges, failures, and successes. It has taught me the importance of being resilient and having the courage to continue moving forward to accomplish my goals despite challenges. Being a lawyer, I’ve utilized my strong work ethic and the ability to communicate and reach people, to effectuate positive change in my own life and the lives of those in our community. My strongest attribute is my ability to learn and comprehend information quickly in order to excel and succeed in any environment. My diverse life experience, combined with my legal experience, has provided me the ability to work for, work with, and to lead others in collaborative efforts to accomplish common goals.
I am running for this position because I am passionate about our community, and I believe it is time to bring a positive change to our judiciary. Being born and raised in Portage County, I have watched our community grow and thrive. We have faced many challenges and enjoyed many successes. One of the most pervasive issues in our community has been substance abuse and mental health issues. Unfortunately, many of those suffering these ailments end up lost in the criminal justice system. It is clear that churning out thousands of cases every year, without understanding each individual’s uniqueness, combined with utilizing incarceration as the primary punishment, has failed to help truly rehabilitate these offenders. Many jurisdictions have taken significant steps toward finding effective ways to rehabilitate individuals. While our county has taken some initial steps toward finding better ways to help those struggling, we have a long way to go before claiming success. I will work tirelessly to not only create a successful drug court, but also to expand the availability of these types of programs to those suffering mental health issues. I believe in the necessity of punishing those that commit violent and egregious acts harshly. On the other hand, those who commit low-level offenses due to substance abuse and/or mental health issues are better served by punishment designed to promote accountability, combined with a strong focus on treatment designed specifically for the afflictions they suffer. It is also vital for every individual that appears before a court be afforded an equal opportunity for a fair and impartial judgment. I want to ensure our community is confident that when their matter is brought before the court, they will receive the attention and respect necessary to provide justice. I have been humbled and blessed by the opportunities that have been afforded to me as an attorney serving this community. I want to be a Common Pleas Court judge because of my passion and desire to live my life, bringing positive change and helping others on a much larger scale. I am excited about the opportunity to become part of the foundation that builds our community into a unified, compassionate, and safe environment where every individual has an opportunity to thrive.