6 hopefuls apply to fill Lucas County judge seat


Six people have applied to fill the Lucas County Common Pleas Court vacancy created by the promotion, by election, of Judge James Jensen to the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals.

Among the applicants is Domestic Relations Judge David Lewandowski, who was re-elected last year for a six-year term on his current bench.

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, will make the appointment and the candidate will have to run in 2014 to keep the seat for the rest of Judge Jensen’s term, which runs through 2016.

Applicants submitted their names to the Lucas County Republican Party, which is expected to screen candidates sometime in the next three weeks, party Chairman Jon Stainbrook said.

In addition to Judge Lewandowski, the applicants are attorneys Josh Lanzinger, Kenneth Phillips, David Klucas, and Shelly Musshel-Kennedy, and Toledo Municipal Judge Michael Goulding, Mr. Stainbrook said.

Judge Lewandowski, 61, a former Lucas County auditor from Toledo, has been a Domestic Relations Court judge since his appointment in 1993. He told The Blade Wednesday that he wants to take on a different challenge.

“I think it would be a good use of my experience. What I’ve learned judging could be applied across the street without a lot of difficulty. It would be a good new challenge for me,” Judge Lewandowski said.

The Domestic Relations Court handles family law and divorces, and is a division of the Common Pleas Court. The vacant seat is part of the court’s General Division, which handles criminal prosecutions and civil cases.

The Toledo Bar Association has already weighed in, voting Jan. 17 on recommendations from its judicial candidates committee and sending those recommendations to Governor Kasich, bar President Mike Todak said.

Mr. Todak declined to say who screened before the bar committee or to disclose its recommendations. The bar rates candidates as highly recommended, recommended, or not recommended.

Judge Lewandowski said he declined to screen before the bar association because he disagreed with the timing. In the past, he said, the bar has made its recommendations based on applicants recommended by the party.

Mr. Todak said the party makes its recommendations without consideration of the political parties’ timelines.

“I do not believe we’ve changed any procedure from prior times we’ve done this,” Mr. Todak said.

In a letter inviting candidates to apply by the party’s Jan. 28 deadline, Mr. Stainbrook said the party would submit the names of three candidates to pass on to the governor.