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Published: 10/30/2004

Common Pleas, Juvenile Court: 10 pursue 5 judicial posts

Voters will decide four contested seats in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and the election for Juvenile Court judge.

Judge Denise Dartt of Toledo Municipal Court and Timothy Kuhlman, an attorney in private practice, are vying to replace Judge Robert Christiansen, who is not seeking re-election because he is running for a spot on Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals.

Mr. Kuhlman, 38, a lawyer with Eastman and Smith, is making his third run for judge. In 2002, he ran unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate for Lucas County Probate Court and lost in 1999 in a race for housing court judge in Toledo Municipal Court.

Judge Dartt, 51, was appointed to a vacancy in Municipal Court but lost the election for the office in 1986. She was appointed to another vacancy in 1986 to the court, winning election to the six-year term in 1987 and re-election in 1993 and 1999.

Gary Cook, an assistant prosecutor, is challenging Judge Patrick J. Foley for the unexpired term of Judge Judith Lanzinger, who was elected to the appeals court in 2002. Each candidate is running in his first election.

Judge Foley, 63, was appointed to the seat last year. He was a lawyer 28 years in the Toledo and Cleveland U.S. attorney's offices, litigating civil and criminal cases. He conducted legal and management operation evaluations of offices nationwide for the Department of Justice.

Mr. Cook, 42, who has been an assistant in the prosecutor's office, points to his handling of felony cases ranging from theft and robberies to death-penalty cases. He is a member of the prosecutor's and police department's cold-case unit, which has successfully prosecuted old murder cases.

James Vail, who is an assistant prosecutor, is trying to unseat Judge James Jensen, who has been on Common Pleas Court since 1995.

Judge Jensen, 61, was an assistant U.S. attorney from 1975 to 1988 and then joined the law firm of Spengler, Nathanson. He was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court's Jury Management Association and participated in the publishing of a book to educate children about the jury system.

Mr. Vail, 55, who is making his first bid for elected office, has prosecuted criminal felony cases since 1976, when he began as an assistant in the juvenile division. He earned a law degree in 1976 from the University of Toledo.

Toledo Municipal Judge Thomas Osowik and attorney Jack Zouhary are running for the seat of Judge Ronald Bowman, who cannot run again because he is older than 70.

Mr. Zouhary, 52, maintains a private practice and was general counsel for S.E. Johnson Co.

He believes he has the courtroom experience and corporate legal skills for the judgeship.

Judge Osowik, 49, was appointed to Municipal Court in 1991, winning election that same year. Opinions of Judge Osowik on criminal and civil issues have been cited in appellate courts throughout the state.

Judge Lynn Schaefer, who was appointed in January to replace Democrat Joseph Flores on the county's Juvenile Court, is running against Denise Cubbon. Ms. Cubbon is the county's chief juvenile prosecutor. Judge Flores died last year.

Judge Schaefer, 55, was chief administrative hearing officer for the Lucas County Children Support Agency. Ms. Cubbon, 51, has been an assistant prosecutor since 1981, with the last 20 years having been spent in Juvenile Court, handling trials and hearings before judges and magistrates.

Judge Ruth Ann Franks, who was first elected in 1986, is running unopposed for election to her fourth term in Common Pleas Court.



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