New Greene County judge: Kids the ‘real victims’ in drug-related crimes

Greene County Judge Adolfo Tornichio
Greene County Judge Adolfo Tornichio

Newly appointed Greene County Common Pleas Judge Adolfo Tornichio said he hopes to see fewer people he tried as juveniles in his new job in adult court.

Tornichio will take over his new office on March 1, leaving the Greene County Juvenile Court behind.

Tornichino said in his time in juvenile court, he revamped the courts’ programming and probation department. The court now has a prevention and intervention services department, where law enforcement bring low risk kids to be assessed and get services in place before the formal court process would take place. He said he hopes to see fewer, or none, of the juveniles he prosecuted come through his court as adults.

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The vacancy in the common pleas court was created when Judge Michael Buckwalter was elected to the other of two general division judgeships and Judge Stephen Wolaver retired. Tornichio’s term will expire Feb. 8, 2023. He will need to run for election to a full term on the general division in November 2022.

Tornichio said his goal is to be firm and fair in this new role.

“We’re going to treat everyone that comes before the court fairly and honestly,” Tonichio said. “I want people to say, even if the court decision doesn’t go their way, that they felt heard throughout the process. That’s the true foundation of a court system, is when everybody on a case, on whatever side they are in a lawsuit or a criminal complaint, if they feel that the process was fair, that their voice was heard... to me, that’s huge.”

Tornichio said while he was juvenile judge, the court was in early discussions with Clark State about a job readiness program. He hopes when the pandemic is over that work continues.

While on the bench in juvenile court, Tornichio saw who he calls the true victims of the opioid epidemic — kids.

“If you would have asked me before I took juvenile bench, ‘are drugs a victimless crime?’ I would have said yes,” Tornichio said. “But after seeing the rampages of the opioid epidemic in our children services, neglect, dependency cases, those are the real victims. So that stands out.”

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Tornichio said this past week when sentencing a teenager, the juvenile congratulated him on his new role. Tornichio told that teenager that the best thing he can do is to run into him out in the community and not see his name on the docket in adult court.

“My goal is to encourage them that they can put the past behind them. They can start a new chapter in the book of life,” Tornichio said. “I say this to probably about every kid on the delinquency docket: when they succeed, our county succeeds.”

Judge Buckwalter asked Tornichio to take over the Veterans Treatment Court started by Judge Wolaver.

“I’m excited. I look forward to working with the veterans support and treatment team and our veterans to help them get their lives back on track,” Tornichio said.

Tornichio said he also plans to continue the work Wolaver did to bring more technology to the courthouse. Tornichio said after the pandemic is over, he images tools like Zoom could be continued to be used.

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Tornichio, who lives in Beavercreek, previously served for 16 years as a Greene County assistant prosecutor and served the county for three years as a law clerk. Before his county-level service, Tornichio was a prosecuting attorney for the village of Waynesville, acting law director for the city of Xenia and a private practicing attorney.

He earned his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law and his undergraduate degree from Wright State University.

Tornichio said his wife of nearly five years, Heather, helps keep him grounded when he gets a big head or “black robe fever.” The two have a daughter.

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