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Merger of courts unlikely for now

Published: Mon, September 24, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



A state representative from Trumbull County says nothing will happen in the Ohio Legislature in the last six weeks before the Nov. 6 election to prevent one of two candidates from being elected to the judgeship of Eastern District Court in Brookfield.

The current judge, Ronald Rice, a Democrat, is retiring to fill the seat being vacated by Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge John M. Stuard, who is retiring.

Tom Letson of Warren, D-64th, said the Legislature could still act on one of two bills that were introduced to abolish the Eastern District judgeship and merge it with Central District Court in Cortland, but he doubts the current speaker of the House will allow it to happen this year.

The speaker is William G. Batchelder, a Republican from Medina.

Also, the Legislature is scheduled to be in recess until after the election.

Letson and his fellow Trumbull County state legislator, Sean O’Brien of Brookfield, D-65th, sponsored legislation that would merge the two judgeships with a 2013 election to determine who will serve the position starting in early 2014.

Rep. Casey Kozlowski of Pierpont, R-99th, whose district includes northern Trumbull County, introduced a bill that would have merged the two courts and established an election for the job in 2017 for a term that would begin in 2018.

In both cases, Republican Judge Thomas Campbell, who spearheaded the campaign to turn the two part-time judgeships into one full-time position, would serve as the full-time judge until the next election.

Letson said he doesn’t know whether there is a chance either piece of legislation has a chance to become law in 2013 and beyond.

Two Cortland attorneys, Atty. Randil J. Rudloff and Robert Platt Jr. are on the ballot in November as candidates for the part-time Eastern District Judge position.

The Ohio Supreme Court backed the consolidation, saying the number of cases handled by the two courts justified them being merged. Campbell said the merger would save money.


1YoderDame(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Lying Letson is at it again, now with help from the Vindy. The blame for the inaction on the Court Consolidation in Trumbull County lies at the feet of the Democrats in this county-the Commissioners and our representatives in the General Assembly. Mr. Letson and the Vindicator imply that his bill on this was first. It was not. His bill is also not backed by the Supreme Court. In fact, his bill was introduce solely to block the other bill. Compromises were offered on the ORIGINAL bill sponsored by Representative Kozlowski, but Mr. Letson and the Democrats would not accept them. Because that bill needed a 2/3 majority, and Mr. Letson and company convinced their fellow Democrats not to vote for it, he effectively killed any chance for Court Consolidation. Mr. Letson needs to be reminded that a half truth is whole lie. He needs to be reminded in November that his constituents don't need a partisan hack. They need someone who will be a public servant. Randy Law, Mr. Letson's opponent in November, has proven himself to be a public servant when he was previously in the General Assembly. Let's hope that the voters remember this.

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2ConservativeDude(36 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This is more Mahoning Valley politics at its finest. The Vindicator is supporting another example of insanity. This court consolidation saves the taxpayers at least $1M over 5 years.

The whole process was stonewalled by Letson, O'Brien Cafaro and the Trumbull County Commissioners, Polivka, Heltzel and Fuda. These current office holders consider tax payers an inconvenience and we are in their way. We are only good for our money.

We need someone to look out for the taxpayers. Randy Law is that person. He has done it before. Vote for Randy and send Letson packing.

Further, O'Brien needs to find a job he can do too. Vote for Pat Peridon who is running against O'Brien. She too cares about the taxpayers.

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