Anthony M. D’Apolito sworn in as judge
By Peter H. MILLIKEN
Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court had a rare honor in the county courthouse rotunda: He swore in his son, Anthony M., to a six-year term on that same court.
Wednesday’s ceremony was crowded with judges, lawyers, court personnel, elected officials and other county workers.
The new judge joins his father on the court, to which his father was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.
It is apparently the first time a father-and-son judge combination will serve simultaneously on the county’s common pleas court bench and a rare instance where this has ever occurred in Ohio and other states.
“I will work every day to validate the trust you have put in me, whether I’m on the bench or in our community. I will always remember that you helped make me a judge, and I cannot let you down,” Anthony D’Apolito told the audience.
“I will work extremely hard. I will always be prepared. I will make the best decisions I can. I will work every day to make all of you proud,” he vowed.
The ceremony followed a two-candidate Nov. 8 election contest, in which the younger D’Apolito unseated Judge Shirley J. Christian by winning 61.6 percent of the vote.
The D’Apolitos will preside over separate courtrooms and be among five judges in the court’s general division, which hears major civil and criminal cases.
Most recently, the younger D’Apolito, who lives in Poland, has been a magistrate and court administrator in the county’s juvenile court and Poland Village solicitor.
“Anthony will be an excellent jurist. He has the necessary temperament, integrity, passion, commitment and honor. He will be missed by all of us at juvenile court,” after 14 years there, said Judge Theresa Dellick of the county juvenile court.
“I could always trust him to do the right thing at the right time for the right reason,” Judge Dellick said.
“Temper: He does not have one. I’ve never heard him get mad. I’ve never heard him get upset. I’ve never heard him raise his voice,” she observed. “We never worried about the law. He knew it.”
“He means what he says and says what he means,” and is well-organized and “down to earth,” she added.
A 1994 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, the younger D’Apolito was a prosecuting and criminal defense lawyer early in his career and worked with his father on civil cases, including personal injury matters.
Judge Christian of New Springfield was appointed by Gov. John Kasich in 2014 to succeed Judge James C. Evans, who retired that year and died in 2015.
The election between Anthony D’Apolito, who takes office Tuesday, and Judge Christian was the costliest county contest in this year’s general election, with nearly $250,000 raised between the two candidates.