Judicial candidates will speak to Bay Village Democrats

At least six persons expected to seek election for judge in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas or the Ohio Court of Appeals will speak at the Monday, Aug. 12, meeting of the Bay Village Democratic Club. The club meets at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the police department at 28000 Wolf Road.

Jennifer O'Donnell, a public defender for 11 years, will run for Common Pleas judge in 2020. “I have represented thousands of indigent Cuyahoga County residents in a variety of criminal and civil custody proceedings,” she said. “I believe my defense background will enable a fresh perspective and bring innovative ideas to better serve the needs of our community.”

O’Donnell is a life-long Democrat with strong ties to the labor community. Her father was a career union member and the business manager of Local 42 Plumbers & Pipefitters for many years, she said. Later, he was a union organizer representing Local 55 Plumbers Union in Cleveland. She is member of AFSCME Local 3631 and an active member of the Rocky River Democratic Club and a precinct committee-person.

She describes her top priorities as working with county government to improve conditions in the county jail, bail reform, and increased mental health and substance abuse services for criminal defendants.

Judge Sean C. Gallagher will seek re-election to the Ohio Court of Appeals (8th District). He is a graduate of St. Edward High School, Ohio University and Cleveland Marshall College of Law. 

Gallagher was elected to the Ohio Court of Appeals in 2002 and was a judge in Cleveland Municipal Court for several years. He was a felony prosecutor for the county from 1991-1997 and a former probation officer and court bailiff. 

He has been cited for public service by St. Edward, Cleveland-Marshall and the county bar association.  

Lisa Babish Forbes will run for the Ohio Court of Appeals (8th District) for the position held by Judge Raymond C. Headen, an appointment of former Gov. John Kasich.

She is an attorney and partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, and a graduate of Cornell University and Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is a business litigator resolving complex disputes, including fiduciary claims, consumer class action, legal malpractice, oil and gas drilling and other areas.

She has had oversight of a team of more than 30 lawyers involving litigation in 28 states in lender liability claims. Also, she is a board member of the Center for Families and Children, El Barrio and Circle Health. She has held leadership roles in the Ohio Bar Association, Ohio Women’s Bar Association and Federal Bar Association.

William Vodrey will seek election in 2020 for Common Pleas judge. He has been a Cleveland Municipal Court magistrate for 17 years and is a former county prosecutor and Legal Aid lawyer.

Vodrey pledges to work to reduce racial and economic disparities. “It’s no secret that your treatment in the criminal justice system too often depends on the color of your skin and the size of your bank account,” he said. He supports bail reform and said low-level drug offenses should be treated as a public health crisis. 

Vodrey wants to strengthen Veterans Court, Drug Court and Mental Health dockets. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and CWRU School of Law.

Judge Nancy A. Fuerst has been a Common Pleas Court judge since 1997 and has periodically served as presiding/administrative judge. She is a graduate of Cleveland State University and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. At the Ohio Supreme Court, she has been a judicial instructor and member of the Board of Professional Conduct. She is one of the few county judges that routinely handle both criminal and civil cases. She is expected to seek re-election next year.

Fuerst said she wants to improve pretrial service and help provide social service to start to restore people to the community after they serve sentences. 

Judge Gayle Williams-Byers, of South Euclid Municipal Court, is expected to run in 2020 for Ohio Court of Appeals (8th District). Williams-Byers instituted a night court and a housing docket in South Euclid. She was an assistant county prosecutor for 10 years and has taught constitutional law for police officers and introduction to criminal justice. She is a graduate of CWRU School of Law.

Democratic Club members are planning the annual Corn Roast at Bay Lodge on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. Roasted corn, hotdogs, lemonade, desserts and such will be supplied. Candidates for local and regional offices are expected to speak, including Judge Shannon M. Gallagher.

Shannon Gallagher was elected to the Common Pleas Court in 2014 and is expected to seek re-election in 2020. She spearheaded the first Expungement Day, which helped people clear old felonies from their records. She currently presides over one of five of the Court’s Mental Health Dockets.

She was an attorney for the Ohio Court of Appeals (8th District). She has also worked as a labor relations advisor, civil staff attorney and a probation officer. She graduated from Miami University and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. 

Dave Sartin

Dave Sartin

Comunications committee chair, Bay Dems

Read More on Politics
Volume 11, Issue 15, Posted 10:10 AM, 08.06.2019