Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr. has sat on the Youngstown Municipal Court bench since 1997, when he was appointed by former Governor George Voinovich. Now nearly 15 years later, Judge Douglas is ready to retire. His last day on the bench is on July 31 - more than a year earlier than when his elected term expires in 2013.
"I wanted to pick my time. And, now it just feels like the right time," Judge Douglas said.
Looking back on his career, Judge Douglas said he always knew he wanted to become a judge.
"I've been a social worker, I've been an administrator, practiced law, prosecuting attorney and it's just something that I felt would culminate my career with all my experience, and so it's quite rewarding and fulfilling that I've been able to do all that I've been able to do," Judge Douglas said.
Judge Douglas said he'll miss the people the most - those who he works with on a day-to-day basis and those who come before him in court.
"I just find it really rewarding to deal with the various issues that come here and the number of people that come here. And truly as described as the people's court and that's the part I've enjoyed and still enjoyed up to this day," Judge Douglas said.
Judge Douglas said he's proud of his experience at the Youngstown Municipal Court -from bringing his leadership expertise to improving the court system, to presiding over the Treatment Court, to helping start the first video arraignments in the county.
"Many people know this court was in quite a disarray when I came here and many systems were lacking and just needed a lot of improvement. I'm very proud that I brought with me some administrative skills and leadership skills in particular to have been able to bring this court to a point where it's much more respected," Judge Douglas said.
When he leaves the bench at the end of the month, Judge Douglas knows he'll be remembered as a judge who gave everyone a fair chance.
"That he's fair, that he can be tough when necessary, he treats you with respect, so I'm really pleased with my reputation out in the community," Judge Douglas said.