Two Honored for Judicial Excellence
Judge Sheila G. Farmer and Judge Walter H. Rice were honored Thursday as recipients of the 2014 Thomas J. Moyer Award for Judicial Excellence at the Ohio Judicial Conference Annual Meeting in Columbus.
The award was established in 2010 by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) in honor of the late Chief Justice Moyer, who was posthumously given the inaugural award, to recognize a current or former Ohio state or federal judge who displays outstanding qualities of judicial excellence including integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, knowledge of the law, professionalism, ethics, creativity, sound judgment, courage, and decisiveness.
“Both Judge Farmer and Judge Rice have long been recognized for qualities that Chief Justice Moyer also exhibited. Judge Farmer worked with Chief Justice Moyer as chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference and is known for her education, mentoring and peacemaking efforts, and for her ability to help the Fifth District Court remain above political discord. Judge Rice is known for his patience, especially with the attorneys who come before him, for his commitment to serving the needs of the most vulnerable in his community, and for his efforts to encourage dialogue among his fellow citizens. These two jurists are more than deserving of this award,” OSBA President Martin E. Mohler said.
In Judge Farmer’s 37 years on the bench, she has served the Massillon Municipal Court, the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, and has served on the Fifth District Court of Appeals since 1993. A graduate of Marymount College and Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Judge Farmer began her career as Assistant Cleveland City Police Prosecutor. In 2009, she received the Lex Cristi award for her commitment to her profession and the local community. A mentor for many young women who have benefitted from her encouragement as they pursue legal careers, Judge Farmer also served on the Supreme Court of Ohio Gender Bias Task Force.
A 1958 graduate of Northwestern University who received a joint J.D. and M.B.A. degree from Columbia University in 1962, Judge Rice entered private practice in Dayton after his admission to the Ohio bar, and began his public service as a prosecutor in Montgomery County. Judge Rice took the bench as a Dayton Municipal Court judge in 1970, and was a Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas judge when he was nominated for service to the federal court by President Carter in 1980. He served as the Southern District’s chief judge from 1996 until 2003, and assumed senior status in 2004. He continues to serve as an active district judge. Judge Rice’s commitment to fairness and justice includes his service as president of the Steering Committee of Dayton’s Dialogue on Race Relations, as co-chair of the Montgomery County Ex-Offender Reentry Policy Board, and as a founding member of the Montgomery County Volunteer Lawyers Project that provides civil legal services to indigents.