Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Judicial Profile: Judge John A. Connor

As a third generation attorney, John Connor learned from the best. His grandfather was admitted to the practice of law in 1904 and his father in 1939. So, it was no surprise that John Connor would do well in the same field.

“I had my own practice for 20 years, and I excelled in my area, and I always said if I made enough money where I could afford public service, I would do it,” Judge Connor said.

And so in 1992, when he was elected to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, John Connor became Judge Connor.

“I saw over the years as I was practicing, how important the judiciary was. It certainly was to me and it was to the general public and my clients,” Judge Connor said. “I just had this respect and reverence for the judiciary and the function and the way people depend on it.”

Judge Connor became nationally known in 2006, when he was labeled by TV commentator Bill O’Reilly as “the worst judge in America,” for sentencing a convicted sex offender to five years of probation instead of prison.

Judge Connor said he gave the offender probation and treatment in part because of recommendations of mental health professionals.

“The governor called for my resignation, the attorney general was trying to impeach me,” Judge Connor said. “This went on and on, and I got through it and the guy went through five years (of supervision) and never committed another offense.”

The public moved on, too. Fast forward to 2009, and Judge Connor began his first term at the Tenth District Court of Appeals.

Judge Connor said he loves his job; challenges and all, and said he is glad he went into public service.

“I really felt, for some reason, if there was an opportunity that I could serve and do something I wanted to do – something I knew I would enjoy and I did. And, I never regretted it,” he said.

Judge Connor was born in Akron, Ohio in 1940, but moved to Columbus when he was a young child. He is a third generation attorney. His grandfather, also John A. Connor, was admitted to the practice of law in 1904, and his father John D. Connor was admitted in 1939.

After graduation from Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he earned a B.S. in history and economics, Judge Connor received his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law. He entered the general practice of law in 1973, where among his most notable clients was the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, which had been represented by his grandfather and father since 1904. During that time he also served as special counsel to Attorneys General William J. Brown, Anthony J. Celebrezze, and Lee Fisher (1973-1992).

In 1992, Judge Connor was elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division, where he served for over 16 years. While serving on the common pleas bench, Judge Connor also served as the drug court judge in the drug court program known as TIES, in addition to his other duties as a general division judge. In 2008, he was elected to the appellate bench and began his term on February 9, 2009.