A Letter to Our Clients
Dear Clients, Friends, and Family:
November 8, 2016 is Election Day and it is fast approaching. In addition to the high profile races saturating the airwaves, there are a number of judicial races that are important to our community here in Northeast Ohio. Every election cycle we are asked by clients, friends and family what our opinion is regarding judicial candidates as we deal with the judicial process on a daily basis. To that end, below this letter is a sample of the ballot with some of the judicial races that are before us this year.
Our higher courts, and in particular our Ohio Supreme Court, have become severely off-balance. In the last decade Ohio became a national story as the insurance industry poured millions of dollars into a high-stakes takeover. In the midst of this feeding frenzy, one of our most respected justices stated to a national news organization:
“I never felt so much like a hooker down by the bus station in any race I’ve ever been in as I did in a judicial race.”
That’s Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, who had previously served as a state senator and representative. He had been through at least six elections before his first judicial campaign, so he knows what he’s talking about. Traditionally these had been ‘sleepy’ races, but no longer. Accordingly the current Court is 6-1 and many of its justices were the beneficiaries of this massive spending. (This was supposed to somehow lower your insurance rates. Please call us if that worked out for you.) The candidates we have endorsed are underfunded, outgunned, disrespected by boardrooms and Wall Street, but the sort of folks who have repeatedly said no to the powerful and will remember that the courts are there to serve the people.
At the trial court level, we have focused on the general division races, as these are the courts that hear general civil and criminal cases (as opposed to the specialized courts such as probate, juvenile, and domestic relations). General division courts have the busiest and varied dockets in Ohio, and it is crucial to have judges who can manage these complicated, heavy workloads.
As the majority of our clients reside in Summit, Stark, Portage, and Medina counties, we have limited our county-level races to these counties. As it happens, there are no general division contested races in Portage and Stark counties this year. When you read the next article, you will understand why.
Our recommendations are in bold. We urge you to take this with you to the polls and share this with your friends and families. While these races may not be as high profile as the presidential election, they are very important. We strongly encourage you to vote and make your voice heard.
Early voting has already begun in Ohio. For further information please visit the Secretary of State at www.sos.state.oh.us or your local board of elections. If you have any questions about the judicial candidates or if you need assistance getting to the polls, please let us know.