Chief Justice Highlights Specialized Dockets During Her State of Judiciary Address
By Jenna Gant - September 3, 2015
Delivering her State of the Judiciary Address in front of nearly 350 judges, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor spoke to what Ohioans expect of their judiciary and reviewed the many programs and activities judges are engaged in to improve the quality of life in Ohio.
In her remarks, the chief justice urged the state judiciary to strive everyday to be legally competent, professional, and dedicated to service.
"That includes doing your sworn duty even when it's a personal challenge," Chief Justice O'Connor said.
With thousands of Ohioans using the judicial system each day to resolve their disputes and other legal proceedings, Chief Justice O'Connor said Ohio courts affect millions of people in the state and make everyday differences in their lives.
"Ohio judges and Ohio courts are the solution to the problem, the point of last resort, or the point of first relief," Chief Justice O'Connor said.
To better educate Ohio voters about what judges do and provide easy access to information about judicial candidates, Chief Justice O'Connor touted the newly created website, JudicicalVotesCount.org.
With nearly 115 judges, or 15 percent of the judiciary, barred from seeking reelection due to age restrictions within the next six years, including four Supreme Court justices, the chief said the website will provide "meaningful voter knowledge and participation" during election time.
Chief Justice O'Connor also highlighted innovative approaches to judging, including specialized docket courts such as drug courts to help combat opiate addiction and veterans' treatment courts. The Supreme Court currently has 189 specialized dockets across Ohio in the certification process.
"While there are cost-saving aspects to this approach to the administration of justice - we can't afford to incarcerate or institutionalize our way out of these problems - it is most importantly an approach that focuses on helping people succeed and becoming productive members of our society," Chief Justice O'Connor said.
At the end of her annual address, Chief Justice O'Connor thanked the judges for their hard work and dedication to "further the cause of justice" in Ohio.