With two Lucas County judges barred by age limits from seeking re-election, county voters will select candidates for both races in Tuesday’s primary election.
Three Democrats — Ian English, Laura Restivo, and Richard Roberts — are seeking their party’s nomination to fill Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald’s seat on the court’s general division. In November, the winner of the three-way race will face Republican Mark Davis, who is unopposed in the primary.
In the domestic relations division, two Democrats and two Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination for the judgeship currently held by Norman Zemmelman.
On the GOP ticket are Lisa McGowan, who works as a magistrate in the domestic relations court, and Joseph Clarke, a private practice lawyer who specializes in family law. Running for the Democratic nomination are longtime Toledo attorneys, John Coble and Jay Feldstein.
Domestic relations court handles divorces, dissolutions, annulments, child custody, visitation, child support, property division, and other issues related to the end of marriages. The general division handles civil and felony criminal matters.
Mr. English, 44, of Toledo has been an assistant prosecutor for the last 13 years working in the criminal division of the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office. Mr. English, who has been endorsed by the Lucas County Democratic Party, had a private civil practice before joining the prosecutor's office in 2001.
Ms. Restivo, 45, of Sylvania Township is a magistrate in the county’s juvenile court, handling criminal cases that range from traffic citations to felonies.
Mr. Roberts, 64, of Sylvania has been a lawyer for 24 years, primarily representing criminal defendants. He had been a Toledo police officer for 10 years when a defendant grabbed and twisted his head, causing an injury that rendered him disabled and prompted him to get a law degree in 1988.
Among the domestic relations candidates — all four of whom are graduates of UT’s law school — is Mr. Feldstein, 59, who is in private practice with Kalniz, Iorio & Feldstein Co., where he handles civil, criminal, and family law. He has the endorsement of the county’s Democratic party.
Mr. Coble, 57, has a diverse law practice at Albrechta & Coble and has served as president of the Toledo Fair Housing Center, among other community activities.
Ms. McGowan, 46, has worked in the domestic relations court for 14 years — 12 as staff attorney for Judge David Lewandowski and the last two as a full-time magistrate. In that position, she hears temporary motions in pending divorce cases, writes decisions, and presides over emergency hearings and post-divorce motions.
Mr. Clarke, 37, said about 80 percent of his law practice involves family law — representing families going through the divorce process.
The annual salary for a common pleas court judge, which is set by law, currently is $121,350. Common pleas judges serve six-year terms.
Staff writer Tom Troy contributed to this report.
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