At the December 2nd HCDP Executive Committee meeting, endorsements were made for the November ballot in seven judicial seats. A big thanks to the Judicial Nominating Committee, led by Britt Born and made up of a diverse group of Democratic attorneys (and non-attorneys) that practice in nearly every area of the law, who dedicated their time and attention to serve on this committee.
There are seven judicial seats up for election in 2024 that were considered by this committee:
- Four Court of Appeals seat currently held by Marilyn Zayas, Candace Crouse, Pierre Bergeron, and Bob Winkler.
- Three Common Pleas General Division seats: 2 field race seats currently held by Leslie Ghiz and Lisa Allen, and the head-to-head seat currently held by Terry Nestor.
Pierre Bergeron has decided not to seek re-election in 2024. This left his seat open for the Judicial Committee to consider a replacement. Thank you, Judge Bergeron. You will be missed, and we wish you well in your next chapter.
1st District Court of Appeals
Marilyn Zayas, 1st District Court of Appeals – Judge Zayas was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2016, and became the first Latina judge elected to the Court of Appeals in Ohio. Since then, she has been asked to sit on cases as a visiting judge in the Second, Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth District Appellate Courts, and as a sitting judge on the Ohio Supreme Court for a recused justice.
Candace Crouse, 1st District Court of Appeals – Judge Crouse was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2018. Candace hit the ground running and has helped to make pages and pages of improvements to court operations – including the use of interns, updates to the court management system, and increased transparency to name a few.
Richard Moore, 1st District Court of Appeals – Richard Moore has been in private practice for 30 years. He’s practiced in state and federal courts, represented plaintiffs and defendants, individuals and businesses, large corporations and small businesses. The majority of his practice has been in civil litigation – including personal injury, medical malpractice, and breach of contract claims – but he has also successfully represented several inmates who brought civil rights claims against the State of Ohio.
Rich has a very impressive employment resume, but his background and experience outside the courtroom are equally impressive.
- He was the President of UC’s Black Law Student Association, serving on a Roundtable to increase representation of minority attorneys at major law firms across Cincinnati.
- He has served as the Vice President of Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati.
- He co-chairs the Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program.
- He’s one of the few black partners at 4th Street law firms.
- He serves on his firm’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion committee.
- And if elected, he will be the first African American elected to the First District Court of Appeals.
The historical significance of this should not be undervalued. We are the only major city in Ohio that does not have African American representation on our Court of Appeals. It’s important that we recognize the importance of diversity on our Court of Appeals, so that the background and experiences of our entire population are represented on the Court.
Terry Nestor, 1st District Court of Appeals – Judge Nestor currently serves on the Common Pleas Court, General Division. During his time there, he has helped create a Re-Entry Docket for individuals granted early release from prison, and worked with Judge Sanders on the Drug Court Advisory Committee. Perhaps most importantly, when we talk about diversity and needs of the Court, that also means diversity of background and experience. It’s important that our Court of Appeals includes individuals who have served on lower courts and bring that experience of serving as a judge at the trial court level.
Common Pleas Court, General Division
There are 3 seats up for election in 2024 in this division, 2 field seats and one head-to-head seat.
Steve Simon, Common Pleas Court (seat currently held by Terry Nestor) – Steve has practiced law for 26 years, predominantly in the area of labor & employment law. He has taken leadership roles within the Cincinnati Bar Association and the Pleasant Ridge Community Council. Steve and his wife were instrumental in the revival of public schools in Pleasant Ridge, culminating with the opening of Pleasant Ridge Montessori in 2008. And he led the charge against the Ohio EPA regarding the clean-up at the contaminated Hilton Davis site.
Bernie Mundy, Common Pleas Court – Bernie has practiced criminal law for the last 29 years. He has represented people facing charges from theft to aggravated murder, and has tried countless high level and special felonies with many acquittals over the years. He is well respected in the legal community, and has a temperament we should all aspire to. Bernie stepped up previously to run in a difficult race on a short timeframe in 2022 and put up impressive numbers in a campaign that was only a few short months. The committee is confident that Bernie will be successful this time around.
Virginia Tallent, Common Pleas Court – Virginia’s career spans across social and legal systems. She began her litigation career with Legal Aid and the moved to City of Cincinnati Law Department as a Senior Assistant City Solicitor. She eventually shifted and became more policy focused, serving as the Human Services Director for the City of Cincinnati, and most recently the Assistant City Manager. Her background has the potential to make her an innovator and a leader on our Court.