Judicial Profile: Judge John P. Bessey
Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge John Bessey will miss many aspects of his job when he retires at the end of the year: court staff, learning new things and the new courthouse itself.
After 19 years as a judge, the last four of which were spent presiding over commercial docket cases, Judge Bessey will conclude a career in public service that also included time as an assistant county prosecutor and assistant city attorney.
He said his role models to pursue the law and serve on the bench were his father, also an attorney, and a former common pleas court judge who also served briefly as Ohio Supreme Court chief justice.
“I think it was my experience when I was the bailiff for Judge Robert Leach. Just being around and seeing what takes place when you are a judge was an inspiration.” “I got to be so familiar with just how wonderful a job being a judge on this court is.”
Since assuming office in 1994, Judge Bessey said he feels fortunate to have worked throughout momentous changes. For example, he witnessed court staff go from using electric typewriters to the gigabytes of information considered in trying cases now.
“I think, in a way, I came along at an ideal time because of what was in existence when I started and the way the world of litigation exists now.”
Judge Bessey’s nearly two decades of courtroom service included many memorable cases. He gaveled trials about a suburb wanting to keep an adult theater in the neighborhood rather than allow a new McDonald’s, a fight over a stake in a railroad company and the battle over ownership of the Blue Jackets.
One thing that remained constant throughout the years and the many trials was his continual education.
“Every day when you come to work here it’s an opportunity to learn something that you didn’t know when you walked through the door. And I find that very exciting, and it’s good exercise for the brain.”
Judge Bessey plans to continue exercising his brain when he retires. He already has plenty of experience with dispute resolution and plans additional training to bolster his mediation skills.
“The people that we’re dealing with in one form or another have problems and a lot of times the judge resolves those problems for them. And it’s a real feeling of satisfaction when you can do that. And that’s what I most enjoy.”
Besides offering his mediation services pro bono to smaller counties after he retires, Judge Bessey plans to serve as a retired assigned judge and travel with his wife, Ro.