Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

New Judges Learning the Ropes of the Bench

New Ohio judges like Nick Selvaggio are learning the ropes of what it takes to preside over a courtroom during a weeklong orientation on December 10-14.

Held by the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College, the orientation is designed to give newly elected and appointed judges the tools to make a smooth and successful transition from the bar to the bench.  There are 43 judges attending the orientation. Of those, 32 are new to the bench.

“I think the biggest thing that I’m looking forward to is actually finding out what’s going to happen, and I think we all have preconceived notions about how judges carry out their duties but I’m looking forward to figuring out how it’s actually done,” Selvaggio said.

Selvaggio is making the switch from Champaign County Prosecutor, a job he’s held for 16 years, to presiding over the county’s common pleas bench. He said it will be a new perspective listening to both sides of the bar.

“It’s a lot like being a parent. You know growing up you always think if you are a parent this is how you would do it. And when you become a parent you realize, ‘oh my parents were actually right in the way they were raising me,’ so I wonder if it’s going to be the same as a judge,” Selvaggio said.

Marie Hoover is a law director and magistrate but will take her skills to a new level as she becomes the first woman and first Asian American to preside over the Fourth District Court of Appeals.¬† She said she’s looking forward to taking the next step.

“Just to be able to help with justice and fairness and all those things that you want to do as a lawyer or as a young lawyer when you come out of law school,” Hoover said. “I think this is the best way to try and help people and serve.”

The judges are attending sessions focusing on judicial ethics, access to justice and fairness in the courts, and caseflow management. The judges are also breaking out into sessions throughout the week related to their specific jurisdictions such as common pleas general division, appellate, probate, and domestic relations divisions.

The Judicial College conducts the first weeklong orientation session annually in December before newly elected judges take the bench. The group then meets again for a second weeklong orientation in April to discuss any issues that arise while they are on the bench.