|Education||University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 1992, J.D. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1988, A.B, Concentration: Geophysical Sciences Phillips Exeter Academy, 1984|
|Employer||Turner, May & Shepherd|
|Family||Melissa Flevares (wife), Alessandra (daughter) and Luke (son)|
|Family in office?||Franklin Beni, Prosecutor, City of Twinsburg, Ohio
|Reasons for running||I have chosen to run for probate judge because of my interest in ensuring that probate matters are administered fairly and compassionately for the people of Trumbull County. The people of Trumbull County need a probate judge who will look out for them, not allow them to be taken advantage of. I have seen too many cases in probate court that drag on without reason. Cases such as these seem to benefit the lawyers involved and no one else. These lawyers are looting estates and depriving families of what is rightfully theirs.
I have seen people suffer due to the death of a family member or the need for a guardianship for a loved one. No one can make their pain go away, but I want to run a court that makes the process easier for these folks, not harder.
We need a probate judge who will come into office and say, “I am not satisfied with the status quo.” I am prepared to do this.
|Priorities||I will make important changes to this court.
1. First, I will establish mediation. Mediation works. It is a chance to bring families together and allow them to heal. It will save families on both legal and emotional costs.
2. We need transparency and accountability in probate court. A judge is a public servant. A judge must serve with both authority and humility. I will bring both of these traits to the court. I will be transparent in the way I do business and be accountable to the people.
3. I will thoroughly review guardianships. Some guardians are just not doing their jobs. Wards are vulnerable, and they need to be protected.
4. We need to strike the balance between giving people their day in court and having cases drag on needlessly and endlessly.
5. Lastly, I am fiscally responsible. My experience tells me that this court’s budget is too big. I will make the cuts needed to save the people of Trumbull County money.
|Qualifications||Out of my 22 years of practicing law, I have made probate law the primary focus of my practice for the last 15 years. I am the only candidate with experience in virtually all areas of probate law. Not only have I handled well over 400 estates and dozens of guardianships, but I have also been involved in numerous probate and trust litigation matters. I have handled many adoptions as well. I am the only candidate who is a member of the Mahoning-Shenango Valley Estate Planning Council. I have also served on its board of trustees. I am the most complete candidate.
I have handled probate matters in 13 different Ohio counties. My experience in a variety of probate courts in Ohio has given me a better understanding of how other courts are run. This knowledge will assist me in making improvements to the Trumbull County Probate Court.
|Positions on the issues||I am concerned that Trumbull County Probate Court is not following Rule of Superintendence 45(C). It is the law of Ohio that court records are public other than for certain limited exceptions. Rule of Superintendence 45(C) says that online dockets should be the same as what one would see if one would actually go to the court house. However, when one searches for certain lawyers’ cases on the probate court website, it says “Result set is too large, please further qualify your search.” If one wants to learn about cases handled by these lawyers, one has to actually go to probate court to obtain this information. Compare this to Mahoning County Probate Court’s website. If one searches for a lawyer’s cases on that site, one can at least obtain the 100 most recent cases. While this is not perfect, it is much better disclosure than what Trumbull County offers. This is one of the reasons why this court needs more transparency.|