breaking news

Butler County judge to run for Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 3:32 PM

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II is running for the open seat on Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II is running for the open seat on Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

The campaign of Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II for the open Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals will focus on his near 30 years practicing law and a dozen years adjudicating cases, he said in announcing his candidacy Wednesday.

The U.S. Army veteran said he’s the only judge in the 2020 race, which is why the theme of his campaign is “experience matters.” And he said he’ll “hammer home” that his two prospective opponents — Ohio Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., and Warren County attorney Matthew Byrne — don’t have that judicial experience.

“The importance of that is how can you judge what other judges are doing if you’ve never walked a mile in their shoes,” said Powers.

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Powers is seeking a six-year term for the open appellate seat to be vacated at the end of 2020 by appeals court Judge Robert Ringland, who cannot seek re-election due to the state’s judicial age restriction. The appeals court is the step before the Ohio Supreme Court, and hears appeals made after common pleas court cases are adjudicated. There are eight counties in the court’s jurisdiction, and include Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Preble and Warren counties.

Powers, a former Middletown mayor, defense attorney and assistant prosecutor, said he’s handled a variety of cases which gave him experience dealing with “societal issues,” such as the opioid epidemic. Powers runs the specialized Substance Abuse Mental Illness docket, known as SAMI, for those who commit crimes but have substance abuse addiction and/or mental illness.

“They commit crimes, but we try to treat them therapeutically,” Powers said. “Instead of sending them to prison we try to help them get over their addiction.”

Judges around the state will have input on the gun issue that “we’re only beginning to come to grips with,” he said.

“We’re right on the edge of that, and exactly how we’re going to deal with that is something we’re all talking about and thinking about,” said Powers, who serves on the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Civil Law and Procedure Committee. “We’re consulted before legislation’s made … and make recommendations to the legislature on how to handle those things as a group of judges. How to make those laws and how the procedures deal with it, the kinds of penalties that should be involved.”

Powers touted at his announcement Wednesday his early endorsements, including a handful of countywide office holders like Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser.

Gmoser introduced Powers to a crowd of dozens of supporters and family members in a conference room at the Government Services Center.

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“No matter what other qualities one seeking judicial office has, those qualities mean nothing without experience,” said Gmoser. “Through experience we gain knowledge. Through experience we gain wisdom. Through experience we gain patience and compassion for the human experience.”

Powers has already begun knocking on doors within the eight-county district, and has reached out to the county GOP central committees.

“I’ve been hitting the central committees in each of the committees, getting my name out, introducing myself,” he said.

No judicial candidate can begin raising campaign cash until after Sept. 12. State law prohibits judicial candidates from fundraising 180 days before a primary, which next year’s is March 17.