Two run for court of appeals PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 03 March 2012 09:34
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Two Republican judges are vying for an open seat on the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals in Tuesday's primary.
There is no Democratic candidate registered for the seat in the November election, making the primary essentially, a winner-take-all contest for either Robert G. Christiansen or James Jensen.
The court, with its principal seat located in Toledo, services courts in Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.
Candidate Judge Robert G. Christiansen, currently of the Toledo Municipal Court, has spent more than 30 years on the bench, including 22 years with the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas.
If elected, Christiansen said he hopes to safeguard victims' rights, "and that's not done all the time in courts."
"I want to make sure that victims' rights are protected in the courts," he said, noting that the Sixth District has authority over more than 60 trial courts.
"I have a broad breadth of experience," he said of his career, stating that before becoming a judge he was a probate court attorney and then went into private practice. During his time on the bench he said he has seen every kind of case come before him, including death penalty cases and larger civil cases with millions of dollars at stake.
His time on the municipal court has given him "the advantage of seeing what a court with a huge volume has to deal with. I think that's a unique perspective having to deal with all these courts on different levels."
"You've got to know what it's like to be in those trenches," he said.
"The main purpose of an appellate judge is to make sure that the trial courts operate fairly and efficiently. And I think we have a pretty good set of trial courts in Ohio, actually. I don't think it's appropriate for an appellate judge to bring their personal beliefs to the job," nor is it their job to legislate from the bench, he said.
"I find that extremely troubling when that happens."
Candidate Judge James Jensen of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas said that the Sixth District seat is important because "less than one percent of cases that are heard in these eight counties are appealed to the Supreme Court of Ohio," meaning that about 99 percent of the law applied to the district comes from the Court of Appeals.
"It literally becomes the court of last resort for 99 percent of the cases."
It is important, he said, to have someone sitting on the court that has a deep interest in the law and will apply it to the facts of the case in their review.
"That's the critical issue."
"I've been in the legal profession 40-plus years, 17 as a judge, and the balance of those years as a trial lawyer," said Jensen of his career. He additionally spent 13 years as an assistant U.S. attorney, where he "wrote many briefs and argued many cases before the Federal Sixth District Court of Appeals." He additionally ran a training program for new assistant district attorneys for one year during the Reagan administration.
"I've had experience handling appeals, writing briefs, working for the department of justice," and experience on the bench.
"I think the important thing is, there are five judges that serve on the Sixth District Court of Appeals. Three hear a particular case. What I would like to accomplish is a close relationship with the colleagues on the court of appeals" enabling a review of the law and application of it to the facts of the case, arriving at accurate, clear, concise decisions that would lend guidance to the trial courts.
"I think the obligation of the appellate court not only is to find out the law fairly and impartially on the facts of the case, but also to give guidance to trial courts in certain areas so that you don't confront the same issue over and over."
Last Updated on Saturday, 03 March 2012 09:39
 

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