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Meet the walking magistrate

1981 Mooney grad stays fit with lunchtime strolls

WARREN — If you see a guy in a suit walking around Warren streets, this man isn’t someone chasing an ambulance or looking to make a quick buck. Rather, he is a court official concerned about his health.

Patrick F. McCarthy, 59, who joined the general division of the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court as magistrate in 1997, said he started a lunchtime stroll a few years back as a sort of New Year’s resolution.

“It was after Christmas, I had put on a few pounds, and I’m a routine kind of guy. So at lunchtime every day, I would put on my boots and walk,” McCarthy said, noting the health benefits as well as maintaining a weight loss.

He keeps track of the steps through an Apple watch but usually only does the strolling when the weather turns cooler.

“I don’t want to work up too much of a sweat because I have to go back to court when I get back,” he said.

This type of exercise has led him on the most unusual paths, McCarthy said, noting he has gone to lunch destinations as far as Cockeye Barbecue on Parkman Road NW and the University at Larchmont on the northeast side.

“I have taken a lot of routes around downtown Warren. There are a lot of magnificent homes with historic value. It’s too bad a lot of them have gone into disrepair,” he said.

One time, a legal colleague saw him walking on the northwest side and texted him if he needed any help.

Another time while on the Riverwalk, McCarthy said he encountered a man coming down the banks toward the Mahoning River.

“That’s not your normal activity, and then I spotted a police officer chasing after him. Well, as they got to the water, the man was put under arrest. The officer did everything right, and I couldn’t resist talking to the man he was chasing as he was being handcuffed,” said McCarthy with a dry sense of humor.

McCarthy said he used to get exercise in running and working out at the nearby fitness center across the street from the courthouse, which used to the YMCA. But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a heart attack curtailed those activities.

“Walking seemed to be the simplest solution. But I also ride a bicycle during the warm weather months,” he said.

A FUTURE AND PAST

His upcoming autumn lunch hour strolls will take on a new meaning — perhaps relieving the stress of growing older — as McCarthy said he gave away his daughter in marriage on Aug. 6.

“I don’t know what to expect next, but grandchildren will be nice,” he said.

A 1981 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School and once a resident of the Brownlee Woods neighborhood in Youngstown, McCarthy played as an offensive guard on the undefeated football team that won the state championship in 1980.

“We defeated Lebanon by a score of 50 to nothing. That mark held the record as the biggest point spread in a state championship game for a long time. It was certainly a good year,” McCarthy said, noting that he did not face future Cleveland Browns star Bernie Kosar that season because Kosar’s Boardman team was sidelined as a result of a teacher’s strike.

McCarthy noted that he was one of three Pat McCarthys who had played football for Mooney.

He studied journalism at Kent State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985. He worked for two years in the mid-1980s in the Trumbull County bureau for The Vindicator when it was published in Youngstown.

Deciding to pursue a legal career, McCarthy graduated from The Ohio State University College of Law and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1990, when he entered private practice with Carlile, Patchen, Murphy and Allison in Columbus.

In 1991, he returned to the Mahoning Valley and joined the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office, serving in both the criminal and civil divisions. He was chief of the appellate division for Prosecutor Dennis Watkins as well as criminal administrator.

“I wanted to come back to the area, and I went in to see Mr. Watkins and asked him about any job openings in the legal profession. He said, ‘I have one in my office. ‘Do you want it?’ and the rest is history,” McCarthy laughed.

As one of four court magistrates, McCarthy oversees the dockets for civil stalking protection orders, debtor / creditor matters such as garnishments and writs of execution and certificates for qualification of employment, in addition to handling mediations, trials and any other court referrals.

McCarthy said on one of his walks he encountered someone with whom he just had a hearing in court.

“If I had known, I would have made a house call,” he laughed.

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