Mahoning bar recommends ex-judge under investigation, rejects 3 other candidates


Of the 12 candidates running for a judicial seat in Mahoning County or on the 7th District Court of Appeals, the county bar association labeled 25 percent of them as “not recommended” for election.

Those with the “not recommended” label are:

• Susan Maruca, the county Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for probate court judge. The bar also didn’t recommend her when she unsuccessfully ran for the seat six years ago.

• Mark A. Hanni, running as a Democratic write-in candidate against incumbent Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney. The bar also didn’t recommend Hanni when he ran for a court of appeals seat two years ago.

• David Engler, a court of appeals candidate running in the Democratic primary against Youngstown Deputy Law Director Anthony Donofrio for an opened seat.

The bar association bases its recommendations on “legal knowledge, professional experience, judicial temperament, integrity, diligence and professional responsibility,” according to a statement, and the results shouldn’t be considered an endorsement.

Maruca said fewer than 200 voted for her. She faces Christopher Sammarone and Mark Belinky in the Democratic primary. Belinky, who is under criminal investigation by the state, resigned March 14 as probate court judge. He is, however, still on the May 6 primary ballot.

The bar association “recommended” Belinky for probate court judge. The ballots were sent to bar members in late February with Friday as the deadline to return them, Hartwig said.

For more on how the rankings were made and the candidates' response, read Thursday's Vindicator or

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