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Elections

Akron Bar rates bench candidates

10/17/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

GREATER AKRON — The Akron Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Judicial Candidates has been established by the ABA to evaluate candidates for local judgeships.

The commission rates the candidates “highly recommended,” “recommended,” “acceptable” or “not recommended.” Ratings are based on seven criteria: integrity, legal knowledge and ability, professional experience, judicial temperament, diligence, personal responsibility and public and community service.

All ratings require a majority vote of the commission; a rating of “highly recommended” requires a two-thirds supermajority of the commission. The ratings are not intended to be a comparison or endorsement of candidates, but represent the commission’s evaluation of each individual candidate’s qualifications for the specific office sought.

A rating of “acceptable” requires a vote of a majority of the commission members present. If a candidate is rated “acceptable,” a second ballot is taken to determine if the rating “recommended” will be awarded, also requiring a vote of the majority of the commission members present. If a candidate is rated “recommended,” a third ballot is taken to determine if the rating “highly recommended” will be awarded. The “highly recommended” rating requires the affirmative vote of a two-thirds majority of the commission members present.

The commission is comprised of 28 experienced members of the ABA selected by its Municipal Courts Committee, Common Pleas and Appellate Courts Committee, Family Law Section, Probate Law Section, the chair of the commission and the bar president. No more than 50 percent of the commission may be from any one political party. All candidates complete a questionnaire containing extensive biographical data and submit relevant materials, including writing samples. References for the candidates are interviewed and intensive interviews of the candidates are conducted, according to ABA officials.

This year the commission, chaired by Hamilton (Hal) DeSaussure Jr., evaluated the judicial candidates running in the election scheduled for Nov. 5. The candidates were rated as follows:

  • Akron Municipal Court judge, term commencing Jan. 2, 2014
    √ Julie Schafer, acceptable
    √ Gertrude Wilms, recommended
  • Akron Municipal Court judge, term commencing Jan. 1, 2014
    √ Katarina Vujic Cook, recommended
    √ Jon Oldham, recommended
  • Barberton Municipal Court judge, term commencing Jan. 1, 2014
    √ David Fish, highly recommended
    √ Jill Renee Flagg, acceptable
  • Stow Municipal Court judge, term commencing Jan. 1, 2014
    √ Kim Hoover, highly recommended
    √ Kandi O’Connor, recommended
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