THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
In less than two years on the bench, Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge MYRON DUHART has emerged as a fair, respected, experienced, and community-minded jurist. He has earned election to a full court term.
An attorney for 16 years, Judge Duhart, of Sylvania, was appointed to the court in January, 2011. He has diverse legal experience, having practiced in probate, municipal, federal, and state courts.
Mr. Duhart, 42, who grew up in Toledo's central city, said a desire to serve the community and "have a positive effect on people" motivated him to become a judge. He mentors young people, serving as a volunteer and board member at the Frederick Douglass Community Center, near his childhood home.
Mr. Duhart has varied life experience, including serving in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and running a small business. He also has a balanced view of the criminal justice system, understanding that certain people, especially young people, can change if they are given the opportunity. He believes, rightly, that a one-size-fits-all justice system is unjust, impractical, and costly.
As co-chairman of the county courthouse's technology committee, Judge Duhart has led efforts to incorporate digital technology into court proceedings, including using remote video for prisoner court hearings. He says he plans to use an electronic case management system to accommodate electronic filings.
Most important, Mr. Duhart acts in a just and conscientious manner, mindful of the sometimes daunting powers of a judge. In the Toledo Bar Association's 2012 judicial candidate poll, he received the highest ratings among judges and candidates in Common Pleas Court.
Mr. Duhart, a Democrat, faces a credible challenge on this fall's ballot from Republican Kenneth Phillips, who is making his first attempt at elected office. Mr. Phillips, 54, of Toledo, has practiced law for 25 years.
His experience includes work as a public defender, state fraud investigator, assistant county prosecutor, and criminal defense attorney. Down-to-earth, accessible and personable, Mr. Phillips worked in a factory to pay his way through law school at the University of Toledo.
As a staff attorney for an alternative court, Mr. Phillips works with juveniles who have drug and alcohol problems, diverting certain young offenders from jail into treatment programs. Mr. Phillips said he would work to set up similar options for veterans, including intensive probation with treatment.
Mr. Phillips has a solid legal background and constructive ideas on how to improve the bench, Against a lesser opponent, he could make a compelling case for his candidacy.
But Mr. Duhart's varied legal experience, judicial temperament, sense of fairness, and commitment to community make him an exceptional common pleas court judge. Lucas County voters should retain Judge MYRON DUHART.