Democracy 2012: Race for Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge

CINCINNATI - The race for the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge is down to Nadine Allen, Stephen Black, Leslie Ghiz and Heather S. Russell.

The role of a Hamilton County Court of Common Please judge is to preside at trials of both civil and criminal cases, to supervise the jury commission, among other court duties. One candidate will be elected to serve six years and earn a salary of $121,350 annually.

Below is information gathered by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area on each candidate:

Allen currently serves as a Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas judge and has over 25 years of judicial experience, is a past trustee of the Cincinnati Bar Association and an advocate for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.

Her priorities include public safety, solving jail overcrowding issues and protecting victims of crime.

Black is a trial attorney with 37 years of experience who currently works for Graydon Head & Ritchey and is a former Harvard Law School graduate. His priorities as judge would include bringing a fresh perspective and experience to court, increase courtroom productivity and reduce the time required to resolve cases.

Ghiz currently serves as Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor who has more than 18 years of experience in law. Ghiz served on City Council from 2005-2011. When asked about what she would change in the administration of justice by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area, she replied, "I would like to see more diversion programs for lesser offenses, so that our jail space can house as many top tier offenders as possible."

Rusell is currently a judge who has a background with the Ohio Supreme Court Domestic Violence Advisory Committee, served as a Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney from 1984-2001, among other law endeavors. She has 17 years of prosecuting experience and 11 as a judge.

As judge, she said she would "support our 'best evidence' treatment programs. Presiding over a mental health court docket, I see that crimes are driven by drug abuse and mental illness. It's better for everyone if we spend money on the front end of a person's criminal career, where we can divert their activity and help them connect to services, rather than spending money on the 'back end,' when there is nothing to do but spend money on incarcerating them. Everyone wins when we help the people who really need it, and save jail for those who really need jail."

For more information on the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area visit

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