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Published: Thursday, 12/30/2010

Strickland appoints Duhart to Common Pleas bench

Mr. Duhart, 41, was chosen from a list of six applicants will fill the seat vacated Dec. 17 when longtime jurist Charles Doneghy retired. He will be up for reelection in 2012.

Also appointed yesterday were Suzanne Shuman Rister to fill the vacancy on the Paulding County Court and Michael A. Borer to fill the vacancy on the Putnam County Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division.

The three appointees will take the bench effective Jan. 7.

A graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, Mr. Duhart has maintained a general legal practice in Toledo for more than 13 years. According to his application submitted to the governor for consideration earlier this month, Mr. Duhart said he is involved in a number of community organizations and has legal experience in both state and federal court as well as with both civil and criminal cases.

When he took office in 2007, Mr. Strickland set up a bipartisan screening committee of five members that is temporarily augmented by six local members representing the localities where the vacancies occur.

Usually the candidates are personally interviewed by the screening committees, but that process was sidestepped this time because of the short time before Mr. Strickland will leave office on Jan. 10

The choice of finalists for a vacancy on Putnam County Probate and Juvenile Court was an easier one since just three submitted applications.

Michael Borer, 50, county Democratic Party chairman; Gary Lammers, 46, county prosecuting attorney, and Christina Steffan, 32, assistant Allen County prosecutor, want to replace Judge Daniel Gerschutz.

A screening committee looking at a vacancy on Paulding County Court chose to submit just two names to the governor: David Hyman, 56, a former assistant county prosecutor, and Suzanne Shuman Rister, 48, an Antwerp lawyer. A third application had been received from a lawyer who does not reside in the county.

Mr. Strickland's choice will fill the vacancy created by Judge Tiffany Beckman's election to common pleas court. Whoever Mr. Strickland chooses for each seat will not need state Senate confirmation.

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