Ohio Judicial Conference to Celebrate 50th Anniversary
By Jenna Gant | September 9, 2013
The Ohio Judicial Conference will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this week as judges from all across Ohio will travel to Columbus on September 12 for the conference's annual meeting.
Since 1963, the conference's goal is to improve the administration of justice, to encourage uniformity in the application of the law, and to be a collegial, nonpartisan place for judges to exchange ideas and discuss common challenges.
Past and present conference chairs were interviewed by the current executive director, Mark Schweikert, for the upcoming anniversary event. Judge Jim James said the conference is important for new judges so they can learn more about the inner workings of the court system.
"It gives you an opportunity to interact with your fellow judges, and particularly if you are a new judge, it gives you the chance to learn from all of the wisdom of those other judges in the state and to adopt ways of doing business that you might not have thought before would be practical. And really, I think that's the most helpful part of the conference," said Judge James.
Judge James said conference members are also considered advisors to lawmakers as the Ohio General Assembly often asks for impact statements from the Ohio Judicial Conference for pending legislation.
"I'm real proud of the fact that the General Assembly utilizes the conference in a big way to help them in drafting and improving legislation. But I think more than anything are the efforts that we make to serve the judiciary, to provide them with a common voice," said Judge James.
"I think it's a place where judges can be people together, working on problems together, without having to worry about, 'oh, what's the commissioner going to say if I'm doing this or doing that," Judge Sheila Farmer said. "It's a place for us to be in private to work out some of our problems."
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor will give her annual state of the judiciary address during the conference, and Jonathan Hollingsworth, Ohio State Bar Association President, will present the OSBA Innovative Court Practice Award.
Past and present members of the judiciary will celebrate the golden anniversary of the "Voice of Ohio Judges" at a gala reception on September 12.