Morrow County Municipal Court Judge

Morrow County voters are being asked to elect one municipal court judge from three candidates. The position is currently held by the Honorable Lee W. McClelland who will retire when his term ends at the end of this year.
Choose two candidates from below to compare.
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    Jenifer Murphy Burnaugh Attorney - Burnaugh Law Office, Mt. Gilead

  • Candidate picture

    Charles S. Howland Morrow County Prosecuting Attorney

  • Donald K. Wick

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Biographical Information

Why are you the best-qualified candidate for the judgeship you are seeking?

In general, what is your judicial philosophy?

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Age 43
Education Mt. Gilead High School; Ohio Northern University, B.A., high distinction; Capital University Law School, J.D.,cum laude
Experience Since 2011, I have been an acting judge in the Morrow County Municipal Court. From 1999 to 2001 I was a staff attorney in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas; drafting civil and criminal rulings that were adopted as court opinions.
Family I have been married for 12 years. My husband and I have 2 children.
Religion Lutheran
Campaign email
As a licensed attorney for almost twenty years, I have consistently exercised independent judgment and rendered opinions based upon the applicable facts and law to promote just and fair results. In addition to serving as an acting judge, I have been appointed as Guardian ad Litem to make recommendations and advocate for the best interests of children. In that role, I am required to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and the weight of information provided. I am devoted to a clear and accurate record of legal proceedings as I have assisted hundreds of clients throughout Ohio - in almost every appellate district and before the Ohio Supreme Court. I am also a small business owner who understands the administrative and financial challenges that are faced in Morrow County. I believe that my past experiences of representing clients throughout the state of Ohio makes me uniquely qualified to address matters that will arise as the demographic of our area continues to change.
Courts are a place where public trust is of the utmost importance. I am devoted to making sure that citizens of Morrow County and visitors to this area are treated fairly and with respect. However, I am equally dedicated to rendering firm decisions that hold individuals accountable. I believe that words have meaning and actions have consequences. As such, the law and a court’s sentencing entries outline clear expectations and compliance with what is ordered must be enforced. If an individual is identified as struggling with drugs, alcohol, or mental illness and this contributes to his or her actions, it will be taken into account so that appropriate referrals can be made. I recognize that it is important to address the individual needs of those appearing before the Court. However, noncompliance with Court orders is also important and must be addressed in a consistent manner so that the institution itself does not appear to favor one group over another.
I am an Edison native, a true Morrow Countian, and a farmer’s daughter. I love this community and am forever grateful for the lessons learned here as a child. Now, along with my husband we are proud to be raising our children to love living rural and to be law abiding citizens. My gratitude to this community drives me to give back in any way that I can. As a board member of Hospice of Morrow County, Kiwanis, and the Morrow County Association of Businesswomen, I have held numerous offices and volunteered hundreds of hours to the betterment of Morrow County. I am blessed to have the support of a like-minded husband who served this nation in the U.S. Air Force and also places a high value on helping others. I believe that my varied experience has prepared me well to serve as a Municipal Court Judge. I also believe that I can offer a fresh approach to addressing the issues that our county faces now and in the future.
Age 64
Education J.D. from Capital University; M.A.(History) from Case Western Reserve University; B.A. from Mount Union College
Experience Morrow County Prosecuting Attorney since 2003; previously Assistant Prosecutor with Morrow County for 14 years; private practice of law in Morrow County for 18 years; Former Solicitor for Mount Gilead and Chesterville Villages
Family Married since 1976 to my wife, Hollis. Two adult children, Rachel and Max.
Religion Presbyterian; Member of First Presbyterian Church of Mount Gilead, Ohio.
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I am the best qualified candidate for the judgeship because I have the right experience for the job. I have served as your Morrow County Prosecutor since 2003. I was an assistant prosecutor before I became County Prosecutor. I have also worked as a defense attorney. Thus, I understand both sides of contested matters. With this experience I will treat both the prosecution and the defense with fairness. As of this writing I have tried to jury verdict more than one hundred twenty felony cases. My most recent felony jury trial was just last month, and was successful. I have a thorough understanding of how a trial is supposed to be conducted by a judge. I also have experience managing a county office, and am experienced with civil litigation. I have written hundreds of legal documents. I know I can do a good job for Morrow County if entrusted with the position of municipal court judge.
All who come before the court should be treated with courtesy from the bench. The court should also enforce courteous behavior between the parties. The best judicial practices include tight enforcement of the rules of evidence, compliance with the Ohio Revised Code, and compliance with the federal and state constitutions. With this approach the end result should be a sound verdict. Motion hearings and trials should be continued only for good cause – in this way we can get this court moving again. The rights of victims should be acknowledged, consistent with the fair and impartial application of the law.
After thirty-four years of trial work I know that I have the right experience to be a sound judge. If I am entrusted with this position, all who come before me can count on being treated with courtesy and respect. I will consistently enforce the rules, enabling contesting parties to more accurately predict the outcome of their cases. This will result in cases being resolved and the Court’s docket moving in an efficient manner. I am committed to making prompt decisions, after careful consideration of the evidence and the law. On a personal note, I have enjoyed so much being a part of our Morrow County community and raising two children here. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as your County Prosecutor for the last fourteen years. If you now select me as municipal court judge, I promise to work hard for you in that capacity as well.
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