The pending retirement of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Dennis Langer opened a judicial seat to be filled in November’s election by either Kate Bowling or Mary Montgomery.
Both University of Dayton law school graduates spent time working in the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, but they took different career paths.
Montgomery has worked for county prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. since earning her Juris Doctorate in 1998. She worked as a supervising attorney at CARE House, a grand jury intake supervisor and criminal division trial supervisor. In 2014, she was promoted to the civil division chief.
In her current position, Montgomery defends the county, its agencies and all elected officials in wide-ranging pre-litigation and litigation matters.
“I am running … because I want to ensure the candidate that fills Judge Langer’s open seat has the same judicial temperament and superb legal skills that Judge Langer possesses,” Montgomery said. “Many times judges are elected with either criminal or civil experience, but rarely is one elected with comprehensive experience in both criminal and civil law.”
Bowling has worked as a prosecutor, a defense attorney and, since May 2016, an acting judge in Kettering Municipal Court since her law school graduation in 2008.
Bowling is a professor of business ethics at Miami University and spent seven months as as assistant prosecuting attorney in Montgomery County’s child protection unit before starting her own law office in 2009.
“I have spent my career trying cases in our county common pleas court. In that time, I have developed not only a passion for the law, but also a deep respect for the judicial process,” Bowling said. “I feel strongly that my combined experience as a business owner, educator, attorney, and acting judge will enable me to run an efficient courtroom and render decisions that are firmly rooted in reason and law.”
Bowling said courts need to use technology to increase docket efficiency and better allocate treatment and rehabilitation resources to battle a substance abuse crisis.
“I want to expand our special dockets — i.e. those dockets targeting vulnerable groups such as women, veterans, etc. — in order to ensure that we are appropriately matching services with individuals most likely to benefit from those services,” Bowling said.
Montgomery said the biggest issues the court faces are unfunded legislative mandates regarding mandatory probation for low-level felonies and the community’s drug crisis.
“This mandate was well-intentioned in that it recognized addiction is a disease and not a moral shortcoming, but the state failed to provide funding for the necessary drug treatment,” she said. “For the safety of our community, we want those that come before the Court for low-level felony drug offenses to be provided the best possible treatment to overcome their addiction. Doing so lessens crime in our neighborhoods and promotes the safety of our community. “
Though judicial races officially are non-partisan, Bowling is a Republican, and Montgomery a Democrat.
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