Judicial Profile: Judge Sylvia Hendon
When she applied and interviewed for a spot on the Hamilton County Municipal Court bench in 1983, Judge Sylvia Hendon didn’t know she was in the running until she read about it.
“One day I opened the newspaper and it said that I was running for judge, so that’s how I actually became a judge,” said First District Court of Appeals Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon, “And I was running against an incumbent, so I was not favored to win initially and low and behold I did, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Judge Hendon spent more than 10 years on the municipal court bench before spending 12 years in the juvenile court.
“Which I just absolutely loved. I would go back there in a heartbeat,” Judge Hendon said.
Though her love for the hustle and bustle of the juvenile courts never left, Judge Hendon changed scenery when a spot opened up at the First District Court of Appeals.
“It took me a little while to decide that I wanted to get out of the trial court business because I loved the people. I loved the interaction, and this is a very cerebral environment. But since I’ve been here, I’ve grown to love it. It is so varied,” Judge Hendon said.
Judge Hendon compares the appeals court to law school. She’s always reading and researching.
“I appreciate the time to think, which you don’t have on the trial court bench,” Judge Hendon said.
Judge Hendon said the appellate judges take their job seriously but try to inject a bit of humor every now and then.
“I had one fellow who wrote his own appeal from the penitentiary and it was all in poetry, so I decided to write my opinion in poetry,” she said.
Now in her seventh year as an appeals court judge, Judge Hendon said she’ll continue reading, researching and writing opinions – most without poetry – throughout her remaining and last term on the bench.
Judge Hendon received her B.A., cum laude, from Edgecliff College (Xavier University), in 1965 and her J.D., from Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Order of the Curia, in 1975. After three years of private practice, Judge Hendon was appointed as referee in the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. She served as a referee from 1979 through 1983 – the last year she served as chief referee. She was elected to the Hamilton County Municipal Court bench in November 1983, where she served for ten years – her last two years as administrative and presiding Judge.
In January 1993, she was appointed to the Juvenile Court bench – serving as presiding judge from 1998 through November 2004. Judge Hendon was elected to the First District Court of Appeals in November 2004 – serving as presiding judge in 2009. She is one of only two sitting judges to have served as presiding judge in all three levels of court. She has also served by appointment on the Ohio Supreme Court.
Judge Hendon and her husband, Bob, have two children – Robert (Chip) Hendon (Shawna) and Melissa Hendon Deters (Joseph T.) and eight grandchildren.