Common Pleas Judge Does It All
“Sometimes I feel like the mom who’s got all these children tugging at her dress wanting your attention,” Judge Kathleen “Kate” Aubry said.
Judge Aubry feels that way because she is the only common pleas court judge covering the 22,500 residents in Wyandot County. She presides over all general cases, including felony criminal and a wide range of civil, probate, juvenile, and domestic relations cases.
“I do triage a lot and say, ‘Ok, this one needs my attention right now, this one can wait,’” Judge Aubry said.
The Wyandot County Common Pleas Court resides in Upper Sandusky. Judge Aubry said no two days are alike and thanks her staff for helping keep her on task.
“A typical day is that there is no typical day,” she added. “I have a schedule, which is somewhat of a framework of what I’m going to be doing that day, but on any given day an emergency can come in in every division or something that needs immediate attention, and so we have to shuffle things or extend hours – whatever it takes to get it all done.”
While she has many titles to her name in reference to her many hats in the courtroom, she modestly just goes by “judge.”
Elected to the bench in 1999, Judge Aubry said she was humbled when she first attended an orientation for new judges.
“I went to the judges’ school, and they would get up and say, ‘now if you are in this division, you need to read this,’ and they’d hold up two books and my books kept getting bigger and bigger, and I’m like, ‘oh no,’” Judge Aubry said. “I remember calling home and going to my husband, ‘What have I done? What have I done to myself?’”
Now more than 15 years later, Judge Aubry has done more than all right for herself. Through experience she has learned all types of case law, and while sometimes it’s become almost routine, her work still keeps her on her toes.
“I enjoy it when I come in and we handle a lot of things and we are changing subjects and it’s fast-paced. Those are the days when I go home, I’m exhausted,” Judge Aubry said.
The only downside to being the lone common pleas judge in the county, Judge Aubry said, is not being able to bounce off ideas and thoughts with other judges. She said speaking to colleagues in other jurisdictions helps.
The University of Toledo College of Law graduate has served as assistant city and county prosecutors as well as a private practice attorney. Judge Aubry switched from the bar to the bench because she likes being in a position where she can make a difference.
“I’m passionate about fairness and justice. That’s the best place to sit to achieve that as best as we humans can do,” Judge Aubry said.