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West Side Election News & Notes

9/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee begins 2013 work

AKRON — In 2012, the Akron Bar Association (ABA) instituted a campaign conduct pledge and established a Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee. According to the ABA, it did so to increase the trust and respect of the public in the judiciary and to establish a mechanism to address improper campaign conduct.

This month, the committee gathered to begin its preparation for the upcoming campaign season. The committee is co-chaired in 2013 by Frank Quirk and Orville Reed and consists of 11 individuals, who are lawyers and nonlawyers who are not involved in judicial politics in Summit County, according to the ABA.

The ABA’s Board of Trustees initiated a review of campaign conduct in 2010. The board appointed a task force in early 2012 to make a recommendation regarding the appropriate role for the ABA in monitoring campaign conduct. According to ABA officials, the Task Force performed a thorough review of the issues and examined judicial campaign committees established in approximately 25 other state and local jurisdictions.

The Task Force concluded that the organized bar in this community has an important role to play in promoting the appropriate conduct of judicial campaigns. In other locales, the use of a campaign pledge, even without an enforcement provision, has raised the level of civility in judicial campaigns, according to ABA officials.

Ultimately, the Task Force proposed the use of a judicial campaign pledge for all judicial races in Summit County and the creation of a committee to consider and resolve complaints regarding campaign conduct. This plan is modeled on the Ohio State Bar Association’s procedures for monitoring Ohio Supreme Court races. The plan was distributed to the sitting judges of Summit County for comment.

The Committee will present the campaign pledge to all judicial candidates. It is the expectation of the trustees and officers of the ABA that all judicial candidates in Summit County will sign the campaign pledge to conduct appropriate, dignified and ethical campaigns, according to ABA officials.

By its action in adopting the pledge for judicial candidates and creating the Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee, the ABA seeks to ensure that judicial campaigns are conducted in a manner consistent with the importance of, and the integrity of, the offices the candidates seek.

Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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