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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge, 1/5/2018

Term: 6 yearsSalary: $125,850Attorneys Michael L. Nelson Sr. and Marlene J. Ridenour are challenging Judge Michael R. Sliwinski.
  • Michael L. Nelson Sr.

  • Marlene J. Ridenour Assistant Law Director / Assistant Prosecutor City of East Cleveland

  • Michael R. Sliwinski Judge

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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?

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Age 51
Education B.A. University of Michigan; J.D. Wayne State University Law School
Residence municipality Cleveland
Work experience Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Staff Attorney (3 years), Legal Aid Public Defender (6 years), First Assistant/Acting Chief Prosecutor City of Cleveland (4 Years), Chief Cleveland Housing Court Specialist (2 Years), Private Practice Attorney (7 Years)
Affiliations Cleveland Transformation Alliance Charter Board Member – Ohio State Bar Association
Endorsements N/A
Bar Association Ratings N/A
I do not yet have judicial experience.
I have been an attorney for over 23 years. I began my career as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland where I represented low income people in eviction matters and other civil cases before the Court. I then joined the Criminal Division of Legal Aid as a Public Defender where I represented individuals charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes. Next, I was appointed the First Assistant/Acting Chief Prosecutor for the City of Cleveland where I was second in command of the office for 4 years. I then went on to become Cleveland\’s Chief Housing Court Specialist. Later, I had a private law practice where many of my cases were court appointed. Currently, I am the Assistant Law Director/Assistant Prosecutor for the City of East Cleveland. I have both civil and criminal experience and I have practiced both as a Public Defender and a Prosecutor. I believe the years, variety, and quality of experience I have had qualifies me to be a judge.
While I have practiced law before many municipal courts, the majority of my practice has been before Cleveland Municipal Court. I have spent more than 15 years of my career practicing before this very Court. First as a Legal Aid Staff Attorney, then as a Public Defender, next as a supervising Prosecutor, and finally as the Chief Housing Specialist. Because of my years of experience before this Court it would be an easy segue for me to be a Judge on this bench. If elected, I could hit the ground running.
Age 42
Education J.D. – University of Dayton, B.S. and B.A. Chaminade University of Honolulu; Padua Franciscan High School
Residence municipality Cleveland
Work experience Cleveland Municipal Court 2016-present; Assistant Legal Counsel Ohio Lottery 2014-2016; Assistant Attorney General, Ohio 2007-2014; Private law practice 2003-2007
Affiliations Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument – treasurer; volunteer coach at St. Mark\’s Westpark; volunteer musician at St. Basil, St. John Neumann
Endorsements AFSCME; Laborers Local 310; Pipefitters Local 120
Bar Association Ratings N/A
I have served on the Cleveland Municipal Court since 2016. After joining the court, the presiding and administrative judge appointed me to preside over one of the court\’s 4 dedicated domestic violence dockets. These cases involve the most violent cases the court handles. These are also some of the most important cases the court handles because so many lives are affected by the decisions we make. I also work with the Veteran\’s Treatment Docket helping veterans find the community resources they need to overcome challenges such as mental health issues, substance abuse, and homelessness. I have attended the Ohio Judicial College and presented a course the Ohio Judicial College held for Ohio Magistrates. I am honored and blessed to serve the court every day and look forward to continuing my service long into the future.
I spent my entire legal career helping people. As an attorney in private practice I helped people who were facing consumer issues from unscrupulous businesses. I also worked as an appointed criminal defense attorney in many of the regions municipal courts. As appointed defense counsel, I was able to help clients through rough times in there lives and help them put the pieces back together to move on with their life. In 2007 I had the opportunity to help thousands of Ohio consumers as an Assistant Attorney General with the Ohio Attorney General\’s Office. In this role I helped countless consumers throughout the state of Ohio who were victimized by home improvement contractors who took deposits and never showed up to complete the job. I also helped consumers who purchased vehicles and were unable to get there car titles. I took the same philosophy of using the law to help people to the Cleveland Municipal Court. With programs such as the court\’s Drug Court, Human Trafficking Docket, Mental Health Docket, Rescue Our Curfew Kids, and Veteran\’s Treatment Docket, we are able to help people through difficult times in their lives by finding the community resources they need to put their lives back together.
I love my job. Everyday I have the opportunity to help people. If people are going to have an interaction with the court, it is likely to be in a municipal court setting. I take great pride in providing a professional first appearance of the justice system to the public by starting court on time and treating everybody who appears before me fairly. I enjoy helping people leave my courtroom in better shape than when they entered. logo


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