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Published: 10/19/2011

Toledo judge candidates seek support at forum

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Four Toledo Municipal Court judicial candidates and four incumbent judges were among public office seekers and levy backers seeking support Nov. 8 at Wednesday night’s annual Point Place Business Association’s candidates’ forum.

Judge Robert Christiansen, who’s held judicial offices for 30 years, told the 40 people at the Friendship Park Community Center he’s a strong advocate for the rights of victims as well as criminal defendants’ rights “to a speedy trial.”

“Victims have the same rights as defendants,” said Judge Christian­sen, who acknowledged he had been a victim of a crime and understood the trauma victim’s experience. He said he was especially tough on repeated drunk drivers and on criminals who prey on the elderly, children, and women.

John Coble, his opponent for the term that begins Jan. 3, said a judge needs to show compassion. Toughness and harshness from the bench are only some of the skills needed to decide cases, he said.

Incumbent C. Allen McConnell, judge for Toledo Municipal Court’s Housing and Environmental Division, seeking a third term, said his specialty court handles primarily nuisance cases with a goal of bringing properties in compliance with the city’s housing code. Before his appointment in 2000, Judge McConnell had a private law practice for 27 years and was a former Lucas County prosecutor.

His challenger is Joshua W. Lanzinger, who after graduating from the University of Toledo college of law worked in private practice and handled civil, criminal, and traffic cases. He said he put his career on hold to join the Army after the 2001 terrorists attacks.

He now works for the state Attorney General’s office.

Private practice attorney Mark Davis, in a three-way race for the term that begins Jan. 4, said he too was a crime victim when struck with a ball bat in a parking lot and cited his sympathy for similar victims who are awaiting justice.

He said he would help address what he called a “crime wave” in Toledo by being tough on criminals.

Also in the race is Davis Toska, chief prosecutor for the city of Toledo, who said the municipal court “is a high volume court” and cited his experience as both prosecutor and administrator dealing with those cases efficiently.

He also teaches at the police academy and provides training for police officers.

The third candidate for that position, Michelle Wagner, sent a letter saying she could not attend the forum.

Also appearing were Toledo City Public Schools Board of Education candidates Lisa Sobecki, an incumbent, and Cecelia Adams, a retired TPS science teacher and administrator, the only candidates for the two seats up for election.

The forum drew representatives seeking support for the Lucas County tax renewal for the 911 operations and capital improvements, the Lucas County Children Services Board, and the Toledo Zoo levy. All are renewals.



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