Judge’s Blog Aims to Educate
Courthouses across Ohio are welcoming new judges this month, including (clockwise from top left): Allen County Court of Common Pleas, Pike County Court, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, Trumbull County Court, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County courthouse).
Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler is combining his love of the rule of law with his passion for teaching by blogging about court cases.
“I do enjoy teaching, and because I get a lot of interaction with people, the blog is a way for me to teach,” Judge Kimbler said.
In 1986, Judge Kimbler started serving on the Wadsworth Municipal Court bench. Around 10 years later, he became a Medina County Common Pleas Court judge, a position he’s held ever since.
Judge Kimbler started his blog in 2006, but it wasn’t until the past few months that he’s focused his interest on the Ninth District Court of Appeals. Judge Kimbler writes summaries of the appeals court’s cases about once a week. He also adds short video clips of lectures he’s given or other observations about the court system.
Judge Kimbler said his blog is primarily for attorneys wanting to know more about Medina County courts, the appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.
“I hope they read something they didn’t know before,” Judge Kimbler said. “I hope that it’s a positive experience going to the blog and learning something that they didn’t know before.”
Judge Kimbler said he also benefits from the blog because he reviews all decisions that come out of the Ninth District. Besides satisfying his curiosity, Judge Kimbler said it’s a great way to share what he’s read.
“I’m a trial judge, and I’m interested in evidence rules, civil rules, and criminal cases,” Judge Kimbler said. “I hope this blog makes the court look more accessible and makes me look more accessible.”
Judge Kimbler is in the minority when it comes to court personnel using blogs. In 2012, the Conference of Court Public Information Officers released a nation-wide study where it found that only 1.8 percent of respondents used a blog for court interaction. CCPIO is currently working on the 2013 survey where through July 3 judges and other court employees are encouraged to answer questions about social media and the courts.
Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger is one Ohio judge who also blogs like Judge Kimbler, but her posts have a different focus. The Justice Judy blog is an educational tool mostly used to educate middle and high school students about the judicial system.