The Ohio State Bar Association’s (OSBA) Commission on Judicial Candidates completed its evaluation of candidates seeking election this year to the Supreme Court of Ohio, and has released the following ratings:

Candidate                              Rating
Justice Judith French Highly       Recommended
Justice Sharon Kennedy            Declined to Participate
Representative Thomas Letson  Not Recommended
Judge John O’Donnell               Highly Recommended

The 25-member panel, chaired by OSBA Past-President Carol Seubert Marx, evaluated each of this year’s candidates according to non-political criteria: legal knowledge and ability; professional competence; judicial temperament; integrity; diligence; personal responsibility; and public/community service.

According to Marx, the OSBA evaluation process rates each candidate individually according to the Commission’s criteria. The individual rating process makes it possible for two or more candidates to receive the same rating.

Candidates who receive favorable evaluations from less than 60 percent of the Commission members are rated “Not Recommended.” In the view of the Commission, this candidate’s qualifications are not suited to perform the duties and responsibilities of chief justice or justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

If at least 60 percent of the Commission members vote in favor of a “Recommended” rating, the candidate receives that rating. In the view of the Commission, this candidate would be able to perform satisfactorily as the chief justice or justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

If the “Recommended” rating is awarded, then a second vote is held to determine whether the rating of “Highly Recommended” will be awarded to a candidate. This requires a favorable vote of at least 70 percent of the Commission members.

In the view of the Commission, this candidate possesses a high combination of legal knowledge and ability, professional competence, judicial temperament, integrity, diligence, personal responsibility and demonstrated public and community service, and would be capable of outstanding performance as the chief justice or justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

If the “Highly Recommended” rating is awarded, then a third vote is held to determine if the rating of “Superior” will be awarded to a candidate. The rating of “Superior” is awarded to any candidate receiving favorable votes from at least 80 percent of the Commission members.

In the view of the Commission, this candidate possesses the highest combination of legal knowledge and ability, professional competence, judicial temperament, integrity, diligence, personal responsibility and demonstrated public and community service, and would be capable of outstanding performance as the chief justice or justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The Commission reviewed references and materials submitted by the candidates and conducted personal inquiries among lawyers, judges and other sources. The Commission interviewed the candidates in person and determined its ratings by secret ballot.

Marx said the Commission was composed of herself as chair and one representative from each of the OSBA’s 18 geographic districts. Additionally, six at-large members who reflect the diversity of the organization’s 25,000 lawyer members serve as appointees of the OSBA president and Board of Governors.

Members of the 2014 OSBA Commission on Judicial Candidates are: Carol Seubert Marx (chair, Lancaster); Barbara J. Howard (Cincinnati); Thomas L. Guillozet (Versailles); James K. Weaner (Defiance); Craig F. Frederickson (Toledo); Linden J. Beck (Carey); Thomas J. Grady (Springfield); Stephen E. Chappelear (Columbus); Mark K. McCown (Ironton); William M. Owens (Coshocton); Joseph Cirigliano (Avon); Jeffrey T. Heintz (Akron); Mark S. Floyd (Cleveland); James E. Roberts (Youngstown); Gust Goutras (Canton); C. Keith Plummer (Cambridge); Amy Ikerd (Celina); William W. Henderson (Logan); Kevin P. Murphy (Warren); Shirley J. Christian (Salem); Melissa A. Graham-Hurd (Akron); Barbara Friedman Yaksic (Cleveland); J. Phenise Poole (Cincinnati); Gregory G. Guice (Cleveland); and Paul B. Roderer, Jr. (Dayton).

The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 25,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio as well as nearly 4,000 legal assistants and law students. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.