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Donofrio to run for 7th District appeals court judgeship

Published: Thu, January 9, 2014 @ 12:02 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Youngstown Deputy Law Director Anthony Donofrio will run in the Democratic primary in May for an open seat on the 7th District Court of Appeals.

Donofrio is the first, but likely not the last, Democrat to announce plans to run for the seat held by Judge Joseph J. Vukovich, who is retiring rather than seeking a fourth six-year term on the court.

Other potential Democratic candidates for Judge Vukovich’s spot include Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains and former county Commissioner David Engler.

Also, Judge Cheryl L. Waite, first elected to the court of appeals in 1996, will seek her fourth six-year term this year. Mark A. Hanni, who lost the 2012 general election for an appeals seat to Judge Mary DeGenaro, is considering a Democratic primary challenge against Judge Waite.

Donofrio will discuss his candidacy today at a noon press conference at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Donofrio said he’s “uniquely qualified” for the job because of his “diverse experience in all areas of the law heard by the court.”

In addition to being the No. 2 attorney in Youngstown’s law department, Donofrio has been a practicing attorney for more than 20 years. He is a former assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, and previously worked for the Rossi & Rossi law firm and as in-house corporate counsel for the B.J. Alan Co.

Donofrio’s brother, Gene, is on the court of appeals, serving for 21 years. Their father, Joseph, is a retired 7th District Court of Appeals judge.

Judge Carol Robb of Columbiana County Municipal Court is the lone Republican who’s announced her candidacy for the Judge Vukovich seat.

She was first elected to her judicial position in 2005 and re-elected two months ago in an unopposed race.

Feb. 5 is the deadline for candidates to file for the May primary.

The district includes Mahoning, Columbiana, Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble counties.

Mahoning is the most-populous county in the district, and all four current judge are from there.

Judge DeGenaro is the lone Republican on the court.


1DwightS(6 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I am fairly certain that this move by Director Donofrio is a way of expanding his family's influence within local government. And not to the Taxpayer's benefit.

It could also be a way for the Donofrio family to extract additional money from local taxpayers for less work. It is my understanding that when a case comes before the appellate court; it must be heard by three judges. BUT it cannot be heard by two members of the same family.

So everytime a case comes up, if Director Donofrio is elected; one of the Donofrios would not be eligible to actually to hear the case. So the other two people on the court will end up working twice as hard, OR a visiting judge will have to be brought in to handle what Director Donofrio or his brother (who is already on the court) should be doing at Taxpayer Expense.

This area has suffered for years at the hands of little empires of people who believe they are entitled to run the government. For any region to flourish, justice and the rule of law needs to be honored.

In my estimation, this move by Director Donofrio is simply a way for the 95% to maintain their power and influence at the expense of fairness and the rule of law.

If you love this area and desire to see justice done at the highest levels of government; then please see through this play by the Donofrio family and elect anyone but Director Donofrio.

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