If experience is the best teacher, then Third District Court of Appeals Judge Richard Rogers has learned a lot over 30 years as a judge.
After working in private practice, as a city prosecutor, as a public defender, and as a county prosecutor, he began his judicial journey in municipal court in 1981.
He soon learned that municipal court required rapid-fire decisions without a lot of time to think through legal issues. He also learned that the same people end up in court over and over.
"In a small community like Marion, you kind of end up living the lives of some of your regulars," Judge Rogers said.
He saw a lot of those "regulars" again in common pleas court, which he didn't consider a bad thing because he had some perspective to draw from on their backgrounds.
In 2004, Judge Rogers was elected to a vacant seat on the court of appeals, but only after he worked for it. He ran a couple of times for the judgeship and lost.
"I really am probably fortunate that I didn't win the first couple of times because now I'm in the later years of my career," he said.
Judge Rogers said the appellate bench is a more contemplative position compared to common pleas court and municipal court. It allows him to work at his own pace, but it also demands self-discipline.
He said his colleagues have described the job as having to go to the library every day.
"Well, some of us enjoy going to the library every day."
With three decades of service behind him, Judge Rogers has also learned a few final things: his favorite part is working with the "tremendous legal minds" of his fellow judges. He also pointed to two challenges: staying impartial and leaving cases behind at the courthouse when you go home at night.
More on Judge Rogers:
Judge Richard M. Rogers received his Juris Doctor Degree from Ohio Northern in 1972. He conducted a general civil practice based in Marion, Ohio from 1972 through 1981 before he was first elected to the bench. During that time, Judge Rogers served as the assistant law director for the city of Marion and as the prosecutor in Marion Municipal Court. He helped establish a City Public Defender's office and served in that capacity for several months before joining the county prosecutor's office where he served as an assistant county prosecutor for six years.
In 1981, Judge Rogers was elected to the Marion Municipal Court and was reelected in 1987. In 1988, Judge Rogers was elected to the Common Pleas Court for Marion County, and reelected in 1994 and 2000. In 2004, Judge Rogers was successful in a contested primary race for a vacant seat on the Third District Court of Appeals. Because the seat was vacant, and there being no opposition in the fall general election, Governor Bob Taft appointed Judge Rogers to the Court effective May 3, 2004. Judge Rogers was reelected in 2010.
Judge Rogers and his wife Sophie married in 1967 and have four children.
Visit the Court News Ohio web site: www.courtnewsohio.gov