While the 2014 election was over last Tuesday night, there are still several judicial positions in Hamilton County that remain up in the air, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. This is because as sitting judges are elected to different judgeships, their seats open up and must be filled with judicial appointments by Ohio Governor John Kasich. There is potentially at least one seat available on several courts in Hamilton County, including the First District Court of Appeals, Common Pleas Court, Municipal Court and Juvenile Court. The reasons for this are as follows:
Appeals Court: Judge Patrick Dinkelacker, who is currently serving as a judge on the First District Court of Appeals, ran for Hamilton County Common Pleas judge and won, leaving his appellate seat available.
Common Pleas Court: Judge Ralph Winkler, who is currently a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge, won the election to serve as Hamilton County's Probate Court judge, leaving his Common Pleas seat vacant.
Municipal Court: Judge Russell Mock, current Hamilton County Municipal Court judge, was elected to the Court of Appeals, leaving his Muni Court seat open.
Juvenile Court: Judge Tracie Hunter, of Hamilton County's Juvenile Court, was convicted on October 14 of one count of having unlawful interest in a public contract, which is a felony. Hunter is set to be sentenced on December 2. The Ohio Supreme Court also suspended her license to practice law in Ohio. Because of the unusual nature of this vacancy, it is unclear whether Governor Kasich will fill her seat or whether other arrangements will be made, including a visiting judge appointment or special election.
The Enquirer provides a list of likely candidates to fill each of these seats, which may then result in further judicial vacancies, leading to further gubernatorial appointments. The article also provides a profile of newly elected Common Pleas Judge, Pat Foley, who unseated Republican incumbent, Carl Stich, Jr. in last Tuesday's election.