Susan Maruca (Democrat)

Running for
ResidencePoland, OH
EducationVilla Maria High School University of Pittsburgh, Honors College (BA English) Duquesne University School of Law (JD) Youngstown State University (Graduate Program)
EmployerSelf-employed: The Maruca Law Firm, LLC
Youngtown State University, Part-Time Faculty: I teach one class, Writing 1 to College Freshmen
FamilyAttorney Christopher Maruca
James Maruca (13 years)
Christina Maruca (11 years)
Family in office?Honorable Patrick P. Cunning--Campbell Municipal Court (Cousin)
Reasons for runningThe focus of my professional practice has always been helping families. My passion is helping families who struggle. I believe I am uniquely qualified to provide the essential services of the Probate Court.
Priorities 1. Stabilizing the Court in terms of re-establishing a feeling of trust in the County and in particular with those individuals who do or should rely on the Probate Court.

2. Re-creating the Court as a resource for all families in the County: The Probate Court is an intimidating place that is not easily accessible to the County in terms of approachability. It is instead presented as a highly specialized resource for complex matters. There is a perception that using the Probate Court for purpose of employing guardians, administering small estates, or monitoring mental health matters is too expensive. As a result, too many potential litigants don’t use the Court. I would immediately redefine the Court as a resource for every citizen of Mahoning County. I would reach out to the public in a friendly way. I want to build a relationship of trust and approachability with the community. To do this, I cannot wait for citizens to come to me—I will have to go to them. This will be done in terms of public interaction and services. It should be noted that this relationship does not only include families in crisis, but benefactors of trusts and foundations who generously donate money to support individuals and good causes in the County. I want them to know that their intentions will be given the utmost respect and their funds safeguarded with the unparalleled integrity, and full weight of the Court.

QualificationsPartner, Chief Operating Officer; The Maruca Law Firm, LLC, September, 2010 – Present: Practice limited to: probate law, estates, guardianships, disability law, mental health advocacy, adoptions, life care plans, educational plans for special needs children, appeals. As COO, management of 9 employees, electronic case management system, facilities, health care, input on budget, advertising. Of Counsel; Letson & Swader, LPC, September, 2010 – Present: Legal assistance for probate law firm on cases in Trumbull County Probate Court. Legal Director of Special Needs Program; Holy Family School, July, 2011 – Present. Part-Time Faculty, English Department (Writing); Youngstown State University, August, 2012 – Present. Partner, Chief Operating Officer; Betras, Maruca, Kopp & Harshman, LLC, 1997 – 2010: Cases focusing on injured/severely injured clients, injured children (minors claims), disability law, adoptions of special needs children, family law cases. As COO, management of up to 50 employees, 4 offices in 4 counties in 2 States; in charge of implementation of electronic case management system for over 5,000.00 cases; management of facilities (construction, leasing), health care, advertising, input on budget. Legal Director of Special Needs Program; Youngstown Christian School, 2009 – 2011. Attorney At Law/Sole Practitioner, 1995 – 1997: International adoptions, foster care adoptions, private adoptions, court appointed Guardian, litigated contested probate cases, family law practice. Law Clerk, Judge Lawrence Kaplan, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, 1993-1994: Drafting of legal opinions for the Court. Law Clerk, Neighborhood Legal Services, 1992-1993: Assisted attorneys in providing legal services for the indigent in cases involving domestic violence. Intern, Judge Leo Morley, Mahoning County Probate Court, 1987: Marriage License Department. Board Memberships relevant to Probate Court: Rich Center for the Study and Treatment of Autism, Past Board Member. Autism Society Organization, Present Board Member. OCCHA, Past Board Member, Vice-President, Currently President: Organization provides education, job-readiness, and tireless advocacy for minority groups. Mahoning County Bar Association, Past Chairman of Continuing Legal Education Committee, Past Board Member of Certified Grievance Committee (investigated cases alleging attorney violations of Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct).

Positions on the issues My platform for the Probate Court is a call to step outside of the management of a high volume of case files, and look at the individuals represented therein. When we assist an individual under the Court’s jurisdiction, so as to help that person live and work independently, are we taking the time necessary to determine his/her basic needs, or are we shuffling case files? That is, the danger of a high volume caseload carries the potential for repetitiveness. At times things can be done the same way for a number of people. More often than not, especially in Probate Court matters, the individuality of the litigant requires new questions, new potential obstacles, and new definitions of what is needed to achieve a real quality of life for that person and his family. Are we rehabilitating a Ward of the Court in a manner that is dignified in terms of that individual? Are we following up to ensure that individual’s ability to meet his or her basic needs? Basic needs involve more than a roof over one’s head, a doctor, and paying the bills. Graphs, charts, and economic schedules do not determine basic needs. Rather they are determined by coming to understand the personal goals, concerns, priorities and challenges of the individual and her family. That takes time. It is an investment into the person, not the case file. In terms of trusts and foundations, are we ensuring that the intentions of the benefactors are upheld? Are the finances safeguarded with the utmost integrity and weight of the Court? Finally, with respect to the County Boards subject to the Probate Court’s appointment authority—as public entities, full disclosure of the Board’s activities must be prioritized. Disclosure to the public must be maintained on an ongoing and timely basis.
Offices Sought Mahoning County Probate Judge 2008
Offices Held None