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LWV League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area Education Fund

Smart Voter
Ohio State Government March 6, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Justice; Ohio State Supreme Court; Unexpired Term Ending 12/31/14; Republican Party

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Campaign finance, Recusal

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. There is a public perception that campaign spending influences judicial decisions. What steps should be taken to give Ohioans confidence that justice is impartial and not influenced by campaign spending?

Answer from Sharon L. Kennedy:

There are three ways to improve Ohioans confidence in the justice system. First, improve and increase civic education. Second, improve and increase decision-making transparency. Lastly, with appropriate approval, reform the state-wide election process. Often, myths and misconceptions about the judicial system and the work of individual courts exist. Improving and increasing civic education to dispel myths and correct misconceptions can improve the public`s understanding and impartiality confidence measures. 17 In conjunction with civic education, technological advancements permit independent non-lawyer access and review of judicial decisions. Increasing decision-making transparency would improve the public`s understanding and impartiality confidence measures. Lastly, subject to legislative, executive and voter approval, the creation of Associate Justice districts is a way to restructure state-wide judicial elections to reduce reliance on campaign contributions and expenditures, while advancing confidence in an impartial judiciary. Only the Chief Justice is elected state-wide.

? 2. Ohio has recusal standards requiring judges not to participate in cases where they have an interest. What are specific examples of situations where you think a judge should recuse himself or herself?

Answer from Sharon L. Kennedy:

Recusal should occur in two situations. First, recusal should occur when the litigant is in a familial or close relationship with the jurist. Second, recusal should occur when the jurist has a vested or tangible interest in the outcome. In the first situation, regardless of controversy, when an immediate or extended family member enters an appearance as counsel or appears as a litigant before the jurist a question of impartiality immediately arises. Similarly, a close associate appears before the jurist as a litigant the question of impartiality arises. To remove even the impression of impropriety the judge should recuse themselves. In the second situation, the jurist has or will receive an immediate or future financial benefit in the outcome of the litigation. The judge should recuse themselves.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. Word limits apply. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: April 8, 2012 10:57 PDT
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