VOTER GUIDE: Clark County Common Pleas Court judge Republican candidates

Vote today Tuesday Nov. 2, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Vote today Tuesday Nov. 2, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

The Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and Journal-News invited local candidates to fill out the following questionnaire to inform readers.

VOTE FOR 1:

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Brian Driscoll

Brian Driscoll

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Brian Driscoll

Brian C. Driscoll

City: New Carlisle

Education: Juris Doctor, Thomas Cooley Law School; B.S. political science, Heidelberg University

Employment: Dec. 2021-present, Champaign County assistant prosecuting attorney; June 2021-November 2021, judge, Clark County Municipal Court; 2005-2021, Clark County assistant prosecuting attorney; 2001-2005, general practice attorney

Community involvement: Tecumseh Area Youth Soccer, Donnelsville Baseball and Softball Association, Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Why are you seeking elected office? For 17 years, I have dedicated myself as an assistant prosecuting attorney in both Clark and Champaign counties. I always wanted to be a prosecutor, so that I could fight for victims and to make my community a better and safer place to live. I did this work with a passion and, in return, had great results. With the retirement of long time Judge Richard O’Neill, I know that I am the most qualified candidate to replace him. These qualifications include actually handling criminal cases in common pleas court, having regularly tried cases in common pleas court, and fighting for victim’s rights on a daily basis. No other judicial candidate has the experience that I do. I know my experience, work ethic and knowledge of the law makes me the best candidate, and I now want to use that experience to continue to serve the citizens of Clark County.

Why should voters elect you? Voters should elect me because for the last 17 years I worked side by side with law enforcement prosecuting the worst criminals in Clark and Champaign counties. I have successfully tried murders, drug dealers and child rapists. I have focused on victim’s rights to make sure that they (or in homicide cases, their family) feel like they are part of the system. Too often victim’s rights seem like secondary rights. I am the only candidate to have dedicated my legal career to protecting our community and ensuring that criminals were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and will continue to do this as a common pleas court judge. I have been blessed with the support of law enforcement who know my work as a prosecutor, including the Clark County Sheriff F.O.P. Lodge 209, Springfield Police Patrolman’s Association, retired Springfield Police Chief Steve Moody, Enon Police Chief Mike Holler, North Hampton Police Chief Jarrod Campbell and Champaign County Chief Deputy Eric Holmes.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? 1. To ensure that victims and our society are protected from violent criminals, to ensure that businesses are protected from property loss, and to ensure that defendants are treated with respect, even when being held accountable for their actions. This includes being tough on criminals, even in the face of new legislation that is weakening the criminal justice system. 2. To establish a more comprehensive approach to mental health treatment in Clark County. 3. To establish a standard for court efficiency. Currently cases are not being litigated in a timely manner. This is unfair to both attorneys and litigants who deserve to have their cases heard in a timely and professional manner. This is directly related to the efficiency of the court.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? One of the biggest reasons that I think being a prosecutor and actually handling criminal cases in common pleas court is the best training to be a judge is that I understand and have seen most everything that is thrown at a judge. Because of what I do for a living, I can recognize defendants that truly can use the court’s help and those who simply need to be sent to prison so that future crimes are prevented. There is no way to gain this type of experience by being a civil attorney or a clerk of courts. The right experience matters. I have to forge relationships between the judges, county commissioners, local business partners and the Mental Health and Recovery Board. These relationships will allow us to create new treatment opportunities in Clark County. I would treat litigants and their attorneys as I would want to be treated. I would do this by doing my job. Sounds simple, but often times it isn’t done.

Anything else you would like voters to know? I am a lifelong Clark County resident. I have a wife, Carol, and four children. Two who are current students at Tecumseh Local Schools and two who have graduated. My oldest daughter, Ashlee, is the athletic trainer at Northwestern Local Schools. I have been endorsed by retired Judge Denise Moody, Clark County Sheriff F.O.P. Lodge 209, Springfield Police Patrolman’s Association, retired Springfield Police Chief Steve Moody, Enon Police Chief Mike Holler, North Hampton Police Chief Jarrod Campbell, Champaign County Chief Deputy Eric Holmes, Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi, Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll, Clark County Commissioners Rick Lohnes and former Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson.

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Dan Harkins

Dan Harkins

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Dan Harkins

Daniel C. Harkins

City: Springfield

Education: B.A. (Economics), the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, 1982; J.D., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1985; LL.M. (Taxation), New York University, New York, New York, 1986

Employment: Attorney at Law, Springfield, May 1996-present; Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, Springfield, Partner, January 1993-1996; Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, Springfield, Ohio, Associate, June 1988-December 1992; Williams, Zumkehr & Welser, Kent, Ohio, Associate, June 1986-June 1988. Admitted to practice law in state of Ohio (1985), District of Columbia (1986), U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Claims, U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the federal and Sixth Circuits, U.S. Supreme Court.

Community involvement: Subchapter S Committee, Taxation Section, American Bar Association; Health Law Section, American Bar Association; American Health Law Association; Ohio State Bar Association; Treasurer, Clark County Bar Association; Executive Council, Tecumseh Council No. 439, Boy Scouts of America, 1994-present, President-elect, 1996-1998, President, 1998-2000, Vice President/Finance, 2007-2018, Vice President/Legal, 2019-present; Clark State Community College Foundation, Director, 1999-2005; Springfield Family YMCA, Trustee, 1991-1996, Treasurer, 1991-1994, President, 1994-1996; Clark County Board of Elections, 1998-2008 and 2019-2022; Springfield Board of Building Appeals, 1990-1998; Clark County Junior Achievement, Secretary, 1991-1994, Classroom Volunteer, 1994-2000; Springfield Kiwanis Club, 1996-present; Clark Lodge #101, F&AM; Clark County Mental Health Foundation, Trustee, 1991-1998; Clark County Republican Party, Member, 1992-2022, Finance Chairman, 1992-1997, Vice Chairman, 1994-1997, Chairman, 1997-2008 and 2018-2022; Ohio Republican Party, Floor Manager & Team Leader, Florida Presidential Recount Team, 2000.

Why are you seeking elected office? The administration of justice should be improved in the General Division of the Clark County Common Pleas Court. A significant case backlog exists. Some criminal defendants have been held in the Clark County Jail for up to two years before standing trial. A similar backlog exists with respect to civil cases. The backlog has caused local taxpayers to incur unnecessary costs and has delayed the administration of justice. I am seeking election as judge of the Clark County Common Pleas Court to resolve the backlog and to promote the impartial administration of justice.

Why should voters elect you? During my 37 years of practice as an attorney in Ohio, I have practiced before various common pleas courts and courts of appeals throughout Ohio and before several federal courts. Many cases have involved complex matters involving multiple parties. On occasion, constitutional issues have been addressed. My appearance before the courts has enabled me to observe the best practices of more efficient courts. The discipline of practicing as a private attorney provides me with the understanding of how to best address backlogs and improve the administration of justice in Clark County. I will provide the independence which is necessary to administer justice impartially.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? The first priority is to eliminate the court’s case backlog. The second priority is to provide more efficient administration of justice in both the civil and criminal matters. The third priority is to promote the operation of the courts in a more cost effective manner.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? The court’s backlog involves both civil and criminal cases. While older cases are being addressed, newly filed cases should receive more expedited attention, so that newly filed cases do not add to the backlog. Several years of hard work will be required to effectively eliminate the case backlog. When the backlog is eliminated, active management of the civil and criminal dockets will provide for more speedy trials, reduce costs to the local taxpayers, and cause most cases to be resolved within six months.

Anything else you would like voters to know? My candidacy is endorsed by many individuals, including state Sen. Bob Tackett, Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett, Clark County Treasurer Pam Littlejohn, former Springfield City Police Chief Roger Evans, and former Clark County Commissioner John Detrick.

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Melissa Tuttle

Melissa Tuttle

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Melissa Tuttle

Melissa Mounteer Tuttle

City: Springfield

Education: Law, economics and business with honors from the University of Toledo; law degree with concentrations in criminal justice and alternative dispute resolution from Capital University Law School.

Employment: Clerk of the Common Pleas Court for Clark County; attorney at law, general practice admitted to practice in Ohio, Southern District of Ohio and Supreme Court of the United States; site coordinator for Law and Leadership Institute; bank teller for Huntington and PNC Banks; pharmacy technician; direct care provider for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Community involvement: Clark County Bar Association, member since 2013, secretary 2015-2018; Clark County Farm Bureau board member, 2021-current (member since 2016); First Lutheran Church Council, 2002-2007, 2013-2019; Historic Landmarks Commission for city of Springfield, 2014-2017; Greater Springfield Partnership (Chamber of Commerce) ambassador, 2014-current; Leadership Clark County Academy, class president, 2014-2015, board member, 2015-current; OCCA-Legislative and Title Committees, member since 2017; Ohio State Bar Association, member since 2013; Ohio State Bar Foundation Fellow Class of 2017; Springfield Arts Council board, 2014-2015; Springfield Exchange Club president, 2019-2021 (member since 2017); Springfield Preservation Alliance board member, 2009-2013; Springfield Rotary Club member, 2017-current (frequent guest of New Carlisle Rotary); Springfield Young Professionals.

Why are you seeking elected office? I have practiced in over 100 courts in Ohio, and the courts with technology operated more effectively in the pandemic. When I decided to run in 2015 for common pleas court clerk, there were articulable changes to modernize the clerk’s office. I have brought technology and creativity to the office and opened the first multilane drive-thru title office. I want to continue my efforts to modernize and enhance the use of technology in the courthouse. Technology creates efficiencies and improves operations in the justice system and provides better access to justice. I would strive to have the judiciary be a community partner. As judge, I would embrace the use of technology to make the legal system flow more efficiently, effectively, timely and increase transparency. I want to value the time of law enforcement, witnesses, attorneys, parties and especially the jurors. I will also review procedures post-conviction to collect court costs, probation, and judicial release motions filed.

Why should voters elect you? I believe we need specialty dockets in common pleas court, and want to address the mental health and substance abuse issues in our community. I am extremely community-minded and believe as judge, I can make a positive impact for the people of Clark County. I will work hard to review the outstanding cases on the docket and properly adjudicate the cases accordingly. I have been creative in modernizing the office and creating better efficiencies that saved over $2 million dollars in tax money. I have a proven record of service with law enforcement by serving as the clerk for the Pike County murders, and worked with law enforcement to process the search warrants and subpoenas for the case pre-grand Jury. As the elected Clerk of the Common Pleas Court, I am very familiar with the case docket which involves criminal, civil, foreclosures and garnishments. My diverse legal background has granted me opportunities to practice in these areas, including the filing of bankruptcies in federal court.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? Create specialty dockets in the common pleas court based on the needs and interests of the community. There are three that interest me for our community. A SAMI court would address the mental health and substance abuse issues in our community. A CATCH court works to break the cycle of abuse for victims of human trafficking, prostitution and sexual exploitation. And a veterans’ court would serve the veterans in our community. Increasing the use of technology by the courts will help in the review of outstanding cases, as well as help to properly adjudicate the cases accordingly. Technology can also help aid individuals in knowing where to go within the court system. The court can help the community with work force development and help local employers that are willing to hire felons. Having defendants find jobs post-conviction helps them pay outstanding court costs and fines, as well as become a productive member of society.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? I have attended many seminars and continuing legal education classes in regards to the operations of the court with technology. The Supreme Court of Ohio has been providing many resources and best practices to help improve the access to justice. The supreme court also has the guidelines and procedures for the specialty court dockets, and encourages courts to see the needs of the community and to have programming based on community needs. I have many connections with the business community, and I would work with the local workforce development group to create growth opportunities for defendants and pathways for success, which benefits our community.

Anything else you would like voters to know? I have worked hard as clerk, and I want to continue to serve the community and improve the judicial system. Opening the Southern Village Title Office revitalized an abandoned bank branch, helped engage the community, offered better services to Clark County, and increased revenue from citizens and car dealers outside of our community. I want to bring innovation and fresh perspective to the court that will improve the timely access to justice.