Ohio Bar Honors Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer and Judge Jon Oldham with Awards for Excellence and Innovation

On Thursday, September 15, 2022-2023 Ohio State Bar Association President Justice Dean Wilson will recognize judicial excellence and innovation when he presents the 2022 Thomas J. Moyer Award for Judicial Excellence to the Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer of Summit County Probate Court and the 2022 Innovative Court Practice Award to Akron Municipal Court Judge Jon Oldham for the “Have Gavel, Will Travel” program.

Both awards will be presented at the annual meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference.

The Moyer Award was established in 2010 by the Ohio Bar in honor of the late Chief Justice, who received the inaugural award posthumously. It is intended to recognize a current or former Ohio state or federal judge in Moyer’s mold who displays exceptional qualities of judicial excellence, including integrity, fairness, openness, knowledge of the law, professionalism, ethics, creativity, sound judgment, courage and decision. .

The clear choice this year was Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.

Justice Stormer received her law degree from the University of Akron Law School. She began her career in private practice before being appointed as the Summit County Executive’s General Counsel. In 1991, she was elected to Akron City Court and was reelected in 1993 and 1999. There she opened the first municipal drug court and the first specialized mental health court in Ohio.

In 2004, Stormer was elected to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, where she led efforts to provide specialized treatment for offenders by creating another unique role – a re-entry court for returning felons. in their community.

She was elected to her current position in Summit County Probate Court in 2012. There, she launched a mediation program, a free helpline, and volunteer senior visitor and guardian programs that serve indigent neighborhoods. under the jurisdiction of the court.

In 2016, she launched the New Day Court—another first in Ohio—to help those on recognizance for mental health issues find a path to recovery. The court has since become a national model for its work to break down legal and other barriers to the effective treatment of mental illness.

“Judge Stormer was a leader in bringing therapeutic jurisprudence to Ohio and throughout her impressive career has accomplished many firsts,” said President Wilson, who as Perry County City Court Judge, established the New Direction Court, another specialty drug registry in Ohio. “His creativity, open-mindedness and integrity are hallmarks of a great leader that Chief Justice Moyer valued so much and Justice Stormer is a wonderful example of a public servant who is dedicated to helping his community.”

In addition to her work on the bench, Justice Stormer has held many influential leadership positions within her community. She serves on the boards of Akron Children’s Hospital, Women’s Network, Weathervane Playhouse, Oriana House, Salvation Army, and the Ohio Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the mentally ill in the courts.

She is the 2018 recipient of Direction Home’s Harvey L Sterns Lifetime Achievement Award. That same year, she received the Russ Pry Community Leader of the Year award from the Summit County Developmental Disability Board. She was also honored as an Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Akron Law School and an Outstanding Leader by Mental Health America of Summit County, among many other awards and honors.

“We are certainly not the first to recognize the greatness of Judge Stormer,” Wilson continued. “She motivates all of us in the judiciary to aspire to her level of care and commitment when it comes to the people who come before us in our courts and she reminds us that working in the justice system is about selfless service.”

The Innovative Court Practices Award, sponsored by the Ohio Bar Judicial Administration and Innovation Committee, is intended to highlight and bring greater visibility to exemplary programs in Ohio courts and facilitate the transfer of these programs to other courts. other jurisdictions. Award submissions are evaluated on criteria such as creativity, novelty of the program, effectiveness, and whether the program addresses significant issues that are regional in scope.

The work of the Akron Municipal Court’s “Have Gavel, Will Travel” program inspired the selection committee the most this year.

Judge Jon Oldham was elected to the Akron Municipal Court in 2015 and selected to serve as administrative judge/presiding judge in 2019. That year, the court implemented the “Have Gavel, Will Travel” program. , an outreach initiative whose goal is to connect the public with judges and court staff and educate them about the justice system.

Through this official outreach program, schools and local organizations can, upon request, meet with a judge and receive training on current topics in the legal world. Past presentations have included discussions on the importance of making good choices, red flags of human trafficking, ending domestic violence, veterans’ issues, tools for overcoming addiction, issues surrounding mental health and next steps for students wishing to pursue a legal career.

“Have Gavel, Will Travel” seeks to bridge the civics education gap by providing direct, human interaction with judges and other court personnel, tailored to the specific needs of a group.

“People generally don’t have the opportunity to interact with our justice system in a positive way,” Wilson said. “But civic education and human interaction are the best ways to foster a culture of understanding and civility. Judge Oldham’s program seeks to do just that by educating the public and providing a personal connection to those who serve it every day.

Judge Oldham served as magistrate to Judge Stormer in Summit County Probate Court before being elected to Akron City Court. He also chairs the Rehabilitation Court, a specialized role that provides a path to recovery for drug addicted offenders. He received the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award and a 30 for Future Award from the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce for his dedication and service to his community.

But he served his community from a young age as a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout and now speaks frequently to Scout troops for the “Have Gavel, Will Travel” program. He received his law degree from the University of Akron Law School.

Founded in 1880, the Ohio Bar is the state’s largest legal network, representing attorneys, judges, legal professionals and law students who are committed to the highest standards in the practice of law. The Ohio Bar is proud to serve its members and the public through its ongoing work to promote justice and advance the legal profession.

Chester T. Johnson