J.D from the University of Akron, Bachelor of Arts from the University of Akron
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
I have been an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney from 2005 to the present date. I was a Public Defender from 1999 until 2005. I maintained a private practice in the areas of Civil, Family, Juvenile, Probate Law from 2001 until 2005.
I have spent my career handling cases before Judges in all areas of law.
I have been honored to practice before many Judges in the areas of Criminal, Civil, Probate and Family Law. I have argued before the Supreme Court of Ohio, handled thousands of cases and had over one hundred trials. As an Assistant Stark County Prosecutor, I gained valuable insight into some of the greatest struggles in our community. I believe a Judge must follow the law and be compassionate. I spent my career working with families in crisis and have developed the temperament to be a Judge. I believe in having an efficient administration and maximizing taxpayer dollars.
Prior to becoming a Prosecutor I was a Public Defender and maintained a private practice which included Probate Law. Since the majority of my career was spent interacting with our community, I believe I have unique insight. I also understand that a court must be user friendly, efficient and consistent. Judges are first public servants and should model their behavior as such.
Stark County Probate Court touches everyone in our community. I grew up in Stark County and we are raising our boys in Stark County. I believe our community deserves a Judge who is in touch with the issues facing typical citizens in this county.
I am running for Judge because I have a passion for helping families in crisis and I have the skills necessary to hit the ground running as Probate Court Judge. I understand the patience and dedication it takes to assist those suffering with mental illness. I have over 20 years experience working with mental health providers and families in need. The court should use evidence based approaches to providing care for those in need.
I believe we can do better at the court and it begins with strengthening the relationships with the agencies that serve Stark County residents. I want to make Stark County an adoption friendly county. I want families to choose Stark County for the efficient case management system and fairness during the adoption process. Our seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and protected from abuse and neglect. I have a record of protecting seniors from abuse and exploitation. I have profound respect for the rules of the court and the rules in the State of Ohio. I understand that Judicial power should be wielded carefully and with humility. As a Judge, I would be accessible to the community and the court staff. Support staff are an essential part of the Probate Court. The staff in my office will be well trained, efficient, and courteous. My management experience will serve me well as a Judge and I will make sure the staff are given the tools they need to make Probate Court a great place to work and more user friendly.
J.D. University of Akron School of Law, B.S. Integrated Life Sciences Kent State University
Judge, Probate Division, Stark County Court of Common Pleas
Judge of the Stark County Probate Court, January 2004 to present; Assistant Law Director, City of Alliance, July, 2003 to December 31, 2004; Private practice, June, 2002 to January, 2004; Acting Judge in Alliance Municipal Court, April, 2001 to December, 2002; Magistrate for Judge Lee Sinclair, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, January, 1997 to June, 2002; Law Clerk for Judge Harry E. Klide, January, 1991 to December, 1991; and June 1994 to December, 1996
Judge of the Stark County Probate Court, January 2004 to present; Acting Judge in Alliance Municipal Court, April, 2001 to December, 2002; Magistrate, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, January, 1997 to June, 2002
I have worked most of my career within the court system. The value of my non-judicial legal experience was that it provided me insight and empathy into the dimensions of the attorney-client relationship and the experience of being on the other side of the bench. Much time is devoted to preparing court filings and for court appearances. The court file itself does not reflect all of the work, client support and effort expended on the case. Consequently, I make an effort to spend time with counsel to discuss any potential issues before proceeding with a hearing. If the matter is contested, this is an opportunity for the parties to resolve the case. This practice optimizes and facilitates the hearing process.
It has been my privilege to serve the residents of Stark County in the Probate Court for sixteen years. While much has been accomplished with generous volunteers in our community, there is still work to be done to raise awareness of alternatives to guardianship, prevention of abuse of the elderly and disabled and mental health treatment options.
Stark County Probate Court started one of the first pilot programs in Ohio for eldercaring coordination in 2017. Eldercaring coordination is a dispute resolution process during which an eldercaring coordinator assists elders, legally authorized decision-makers, and others who participate by court order or invitation to resolve disputes with high conflict levels in a manner that respects the elder’s need for autonomy and safety. This process is a way to avoid guardianship while insuring the safety of the elder.
The Stark County Multidisciplinary Advocacy/Protective Resources Team (SMART) began with the Probate Court’s invitation to various agencies and government offices that serve the elderly and disabled in order to create an ongoing dialogue and forum for the development and implementation of resources to address the needs of the disabled and/or elderly population. Since 2011, SMART has presented an annual program on elder/disabled abuse to raise awareness in the community of this growing issue. There are over 200 attendees at the program every year Additionally, for the past two years, SMART has also sponsored a “Coordinated Community Response” seminar for law enforcement and agencies that serve the elderly and disabled.
Since 2005, volunteers for the Probate Court Angel program have been trained to visit the Court’s wards and their guardians. Court Angels confirm the well-being of wards and provide support and information to their guardians. A study of the program and its value to the community was completed by Miami University of Ohio. Since 2006, Guardian Support Services’ (GSS) volunteer guardians have served numerous wards in facilities with love and kindness. Since the Probate Court assisted in its establishment, guardianship standards and training have been adopted statewide. GSS volunteers exceed the standards. Outpatient commitment of individuals with mental health issues has been successful in assisting individuals with adjusting to living in the community with supports and medication compliance.
In closing, the Probate Court touches the lives of everyone in Stark County through adoptions, marriage licenses, trusts and estates. It is truly a privilege to serve our community.