Hamilton County 2014 Election: the Judges


Fanon Rucker

In 2010, I was so mad at the nonsense being spouted by the so-called Tea Party that I voted the straight Democratic ticket, without examining any details, just like those “Yellow Dog” Democrats I grew up with in the south. The reality was that I did not have the time to research the candidates carefully, so I relied blindly on the recommendations of the party.

Thus, I voted for Tracie Hunter. She won an extremely close election, so close that it was held up in the courts for a year.  So, my vote mattered.  She proved to be a terrible choice.  Less than two years after taking office, she was indicted on nine felony counts, including theft in office, tampering with evidence, and unlawful interest in a public contract.  The jury reached a verdict on only one of the counts, but her stormy tenure on the court is over.

This year, I am taking the time to make informed choices.   However, in the local judicial races, useful information is not that easy to find, and there are a lot of judgeships to vote on.  Impartiality and fairness, the qualities that you want in a judge, do not bring a person notoriety.   For state supreme, bar associations take the trouble to publish evaluations, but, as far as I know, such are not available at the county level.  I end up making judgements based on their resume and their writing style.  Here are my choices for the contested races:

Court of Appeals (1st District)
  • Russell Mock (Rep)
  • Fanon. A. Rucker (Dem, i)  better qualified
Court of Common Pleas
  • Patrick Dinkelacker (Rep)    better qualified
  • John M. Mereness (Dem)
Court of Common Pleas
  • Pat Foley  (Dem)
  • Carl Stich, Jr. (Rep, i)   better qualified

    Ohio Superlawyers, Top 100 in Ohio for 2010

Court of Common Pleas
  • Jerry Metz  (Dem, i)        better qualified
  • Charles Miller  (Rep)
Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division
  • Jennifer Branch (Dem)  

    Branch’s law practice specializes in cases involving employment discrimination, civil rights, police misconduct, and women’s reproductive rights.

  • John M. Williams (Rep, incumbent, appointed by Kasich)
Court of Common Pleas (Probate Division)
  • Charlie Luken (Dem)
  • Ralph Winkler (Rep, i)  more qualified

    2008: Judge of the Year – Hamilton County Trial Lawyers Association

Court of Common Pleas (Domestic Relations)
  • Ray Pater (Dem)     my recommendation 

    currently Attorney/Executive Director Metro Child Support Agency

  • Amy Searcy (Rep,  incumbent appointed by Kasich)

    endorsed by Right to Life

Here are my main sources of information

Since it is late, I don’t have time to write up my choices for the rest of the local ballot.  However, they are pretty simple.

For the legislators, vote Democrat.

For Hamilton County Commissioner, James Tarbell, a write-in candidate.

For county auditor, Dusty Rhodes, (Dem)

For School Board, Pat Bruns.

For the issues, just say “Yes.”

I hope you find this helpful.  Even if you disagree with me completely, vote!


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