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Being a Public Servant and Judge.

A public servant is a government official or employee. A judge is a public official authorized to decide questions brought before a court in the form of an opinion, which is arrived at after careful weighing of evidence and testing of premise. I am both a judge, and a public servant, and want to give my thoughts and philosophy about both.

With respect to public service.

Albert Schweitzer observed, “There is no higher religion than human service.” Public service is a high calling. My late friend and mentor, the renowned, and celebrated, former Butler County Prosecutor, John F. Holcomb paid one his best compliment, and accolade, when he remarked, “He (or She) is a good public servant.”

Perhaps, Condoleezza Rice said it best, when she said, “There's no greater challenge and there is no greater honor than to be in public service.” And, as Donald Rumsfeld offered, “Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.” Public service does not have to be an occupation, but it is a way of life. 

I have found all of those statements to be true. Solving the problems of the community can be challenging; many people have placed their faith in you to do the job, and do it well, in a word, succeed. Sometimes, you feel the weight of all of that, but you remember that that is what you signed on for. The honor comes in doing the job well, to effect change, to make a difference, and to benefit the public good. 

I have tried to do that during my entire career of public service. While trying numerous cases as an Assistant County Prosecutor in Butler County, I confronted the scourge of heinous criminal conduct in homicide and other aggravated felonies, such as rape, robbery, and burglary. While serving as a Middletown City Councilman, and later, Mayor, I met the challenges of running and financing a then-struggling city, effectively serving the needs of its people, and plotting a course for a new, more successful, future. As a trial judge, I, along with fellow jurists, have been tested on multiple fronts, with calamities such as the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the opiate epidemic looming large, and challenging the fabric of society. But, we, as  judges, are society’s problem solvers, developing new ways, such as mediation and specialized dockets, to meet those difficulties.

With respect to my role as a Judge.

I am guided by the following:


For the purpose of publicly stating my beliefs, convictions and aspirations as a member of the judiciary or as a lawyer acting in a judicial capacity in the State of Ohio: 

I RE-AFFIRM my oath of office and acknowledge my obligations under the Canons of Judicial Ethics. 

I RECOGNIZE my role as a guardian of our system of jurisprudence dedicated to equal justice under law for all persons. 

I BELIEVE that my role requires scholarship, diligence, personal integrity and a dedication to the attainment of justice. 

I KNOW that I must not only be fair but also give the appearance of being fair. 

I RECOGNIZE that the dignity of my office requires the highest level of judicial demeanor. 

I WILL treat all persons, including litigants, lawyers, witnesses, jurors, judicial colleagues and court staff with dignity and courtesy and insist that others do likewise. 

I WILL strive to conduct my judicial responsibilities and obligations in a timely manner and will be respectful of others’ time and schedules. 

I WILL aspire every day to make the court I serve a model of justice and truth. 

This creed, in framed, document form, is posted to the right of the door leading to my chambers. It is a reminder to me to view its contents, subscribe to its tenets, and follow its dictates. I know that it applies to me now and to any judicial role I might have.

As a judge, and a public servant, I have been fortunate to be placed in high leadership positions in the Court, such as Administrative, and Presiding, Judge, and to be recognized for my work. Awards I have received include, among others, the following:

William C. Verity Award for Outstanding & Devoted Service to Community of Middletown (American Legion Post 218, 2018)

George J. Gounaris Award for Excellence on the Bench (Miami Valley Trial Lawyers Association, 2017).

9th Annual Robert “Sonny” Hill Humanitarian Award (Middletown City Council, 2015).

I say that I am fortunate, because so many good people do great things, and are never recognized for it, I try to maintain humility about such things, and keep them in perspective. As my good friend, Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo, said it, “No one should ever start a career, or journey down life’s path, with the goal of collecting accolades. Recognition, if it comes, means that you did the very best you could with the opportunities you are provided…” And, in the end, I hope that is what any accolades say about me, and, further, if worthy, that I was a “good public servant.” If you want to know more, consult my resume.