Erik Blaine (left) and Gerald Parker
Photo: HANDOUT
Photo: HANDOUT

Election 2018: Blaine facing challenge from Parker for county common pleas judge seat

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Erik Blaine is facing a challenge in Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Gerald Parker, Blaine’s first election opponent since being appointed in May 2017.

Like Blaine, Parker has experience in criminal and civil litigation with local law firms and experience behind the bench.

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Blaine, appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich after Judge Michael Tucker moved to the Second District Court of Appeals, graduated from the University of Dayton Law School in 2006.

Blaine worked in a Sidney law office, was an assistant prosecutor in Shelby County and both a special assistant city prosecutor and acting magistrate judge in Vandalia before working for a Dayton law firm.

“Every day as judge I strive to remain independent, to hear cases on their facts and the law as presented,” Blaine said, stressing that his family escaped Communist Czechoslovakia and what he called its closed, corrupt and inept judiciary. “I hold dangerous people accountable and also offer fresh starts to those ready to move forward from past transgressions.

“I protect the Constitutional rights of all who enter, as it is not only my oath as judge, it is also my honor to be part of the American justice system that was the salvation for my family and so many others seeking freedom.”

Parker, a former college football player at Georgetown College, graduated from Northern Kentucky University’s law school in 2007.

Parker worked in the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office for four years before spending five years at a Dayton law firm. Parker, sworn in as a magistrate in 2016, would be the general division’s first black male judge if elected.

“I have spent the majority of my legal career serving and advocating for the citizens of Montgomery County both inside and outside of the courtroom,” Parker said. “Serving in these capacities has allowed me to see the cycle of families who come through our court systems.

“I tried felony cases in the exact courtroom that I am running for and unfortunately I am now seeing the younger children, siblings and family members of the people I once prosecuted. The ‘revolving door’ cannot be overstated and I want to continue to be a part of the solution not just from behind the bench, but beyond the bench.”

Blaine said the biggest issues facing the common pleas court are the opioid epidemic and the need for community legal education so defendants can help their attorneys help them.

“I work to find treatment options that are closely tailored to the individual’s personal needs,” Blaine said. “I made a point to personally visit every treatment facility where I can refer people within the first months in office.”

Parker said the court needs diversity and that no people of color are behind the bench in the general division. He also said concentrates on trial date certainty which improves efficiency.

“I will rule on a motions and any other pleadings well in advance of the trial date immensely improves the efficiency of the Court,” Parker said. This is the fuel which brings every dispute to resolution.”

Though judicial races officially are non-partisan, Blaine is a Republican, and Parker is a Democrat.

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