Portage County Common Pleas COURT Probate Division VOTE FOR ONE

Published:

Question: What do you perceive as the greatest obstacle to justice for juveniles?

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Bob Berger

Occupation: Magistrate Portage County Common Pleas Court, Attorney

Age: 63

Address: 500 Stillwater Dr., Deerfield, OH 44411

Occupation: Magistrate

Phone: 330-687-9505

Web Site: http://www.BergerforJudge.com

Education: Roosevelt, Kent State University BS in Ed, University of Baltimore Law School

Training and Experience: Army Veteran, 37 years of "real legal experience" in Portage County as a trial lawyer, acting judge, arbitrator, Guardian for children and elders, Magistrate in Common Pleas Court 2007-Present, President of Bar, local charties and veterans organizations.

Answer: Youth or their parents often suffer from alcohol and drug abuse, apathy, naivety, feelings of hopelessness, lack of moral or material support, a sense of entitlement, a lack of moral code, and often have no consistent consequences for their actions or omissions. These obstacles cause fear, a loss of hope, and often lead to acting out against a justice system that kids do not feel that they belong. Their actions call for consistent consequences to detour their conduct. However, the consequences should not only detour the youths conduct, but help them understand that their problems are only temporary and through education and guidance there is a solution. The Juvenile Probation Dept assists in this process by making effective drug and alcohol treatment available. They can provide and act as role models who can demonstrate the values and benefits of working and contributing to our county. Each case is an oppertunity to give youth a chance to gain self confidence and respect.

Thomas Freeman

Occupation: Juvenile Court Magistrate

Age: 56

Address: 1051 Cottage Gate, Kent, Ohio 44240

Occupation: Juvenile Court Magistrate

Education: Kent Roosevelt High School, B.A. Mount Union College, J.D. University of Akron School of Law

Training and Experience: Attorney for 32 years, the last nine years as a Magistrate in Summit County Juvenile Court, where I have presided over thousands of important cases involving our youth and their families.

Answer: Complacency. While serving as a Magistrate in the Juvenile Court I have witnessed first hand the continuing evolution of problems affecting our youth. In an ever changing world, the Juvenile Court must remain vigilant in continuing to identify current problems, issues and trends involving our youth and developing appropriate responses and resources to address these needs. Recent economic conditions mandate that courts, as most other entities, continue to function efficiently and economically. It is imperative that the court forge relationships and collaborate with local law enforcement, schools and social service providers to provide effective programming for our youth and their families. As Judge of the Portage County Juvenile Court I will work to serve the best interest of our youth and their families through outreach, early intervention, community education and innovative programming, while fairly administering justice to all whose lives are impacted by the juvenile justice system.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

David Brode

Occupation: Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Age: 56

Address: 11015 Wheeler Road, Garrettsville, OH 44231

Occupation: Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Phone: 330-730-3890

Web Site: http://facebook.com/davidbrode

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Kent State University. Master of Business Administration, Kent State University. Juris Doctorate, University of Akron.

Training and Experience: Portage County Common Pleas Court Magistrate, Juvenile & Probate Division (1991-2002) Assistant Prosecuting Attorney (2002-Present) Finance Director (1988-1992) Chief Financial Officer (1986-1987) Bank Manager (1983-1985)

Answer: Although there are exceptions to nearly everything, there are no "great obstacles" to justice for juveniles in Portage County. If there are any obstacles, it is a society that increasingly eliminates personal responsibility. The child who gets in trouble in elementary school should be punished, rather than blame his teacher. Too many times we refuse to keep score in youth sports and not prepare kids for life. All too often we find someone to blame rather than holding our kids accountable for actions. When we do this throughout their lives, they never receive justice. Therefore, if they get into bigger trouble and end up in court, they are looking for someone to blame other than themselves. We must consider family history and be compassionate, but the best thing we can do to pursue justice for our children is to hold them accountable. In our schools, homes, and courts we must have accountability. On my watch, Portage County will have a judge who will give justice every time.

Jonathan P. Jennings

Occupation: Attorney, Private Practice

Age: 40

Address: 222 Grant St., Ravenna OH 44266

Occupation: Attorney

Email: info@jennings4judge.com

Web Site: http://jennings4judge.com

Education: BA - Malone College, JD - Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Training and Experience: 14 year legal career, currently in private practice and an Acting Judge with the Portage County Municipal Court

Answer: Mental health. For children and youth struggling with their own mental health issues, the juvenile justice emphasis on least-restrictive setting means that they cannot be placed in an institutional setting for an extended period of time. With a limited number of therapeutic foster homes available, the children are often must be returned to the home. While in-home therapy service has proven effective in some cases, it is not a limitless resource and is constrained by the legal sunset date of the case, the caseload of the worker, the financial resources available and the nature of an in-home service. For children who struggle with the mental demands of daily life there are few good alternatives. As judge, I intend to coordinate, cooperate and collaborate with the excellent mental health services and social services agencies we already have in Portage County to identify and address the types of cases currently unserved or under-served by the mental health resources currently available.

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