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Voters to decide Toledo Municipal Court race

By La Prensa Staff

While there are higher-profile city council races in Toledo and Maumee on the November ballot, there is also a two-candidate race for a seat on the Toledo Municipal Court bench—the term commences January 2020.

What makes this race particularly interesting are the two judicial candidates are the adult children of two long-time judges in prominent positions.

Like all city-wide elected offices, the Toledo Municipal Court Judge race is non-partisan. This means that even though both candidates are endorsed and supported by their respective political parties, their party affiliation won’t be stated on the ballot.

Josh Lanzinger, 48, announced his re-election bid to the Toledo Municipal Court bench last spring. The St. Francis de Sales High School alumnus earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and graduated from the University of Toledo’s College of Law. The endorsed Republican incumbent is single. Lanzinger ran last year for a judgeship in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, but lost to Democrat Joe McNamara.

Lanzinger also worked in private and solo practice for a period of time. However, following the September 11th terrorist attacks, he interrupted his practice to enlist in the U.S. Army. After training at Ft. Benning in Georgia, he was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Josh Lanzinger

Lanzinger returned to serve as an attorney in the worker’s compensation section in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for nearly a decade before being elected a judge in 2013. He has served as both the presiding and administrative judge at Toledo Municipal Court. He holds committee posts with both the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Ohio Judicial Conference. Judge Lanzinger remains active in the Toledo Bar Association and the Thurgood Marshall Law Association.

Lanzinger is following in the footsteps of his mother, Judith Ann Lanzinger, the only judicial candidate in Ohio history to win election to each level of judicial office in the state: Toledo Municipal Court, Lucas County Common Pleas Court, the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court, where she was first elected in 2004. Justice Lanzinger was forced to step down from the bench at the end of her second term in 2016, because she had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Thomas Puffenberger, 38, presently works at the City of Toledo Law Dept. The Ottawa Hills High School alumnus earned his undergraduate degree from Denison University, where he played all four years on the baseball team. The endorsed Democrat earned his law degree from the University of Toledo. The first-time political candidate has been married for 12 years and has four children, all age ten and under.

Puffenberger spent a few years in private law practice, then went into public service as a public defender, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, and a staff attorney at the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals before becoming a senior attorney in the civil litigation division of the city’s law department. He is a member of the Toledo and Lucas County bar associations and serves on the scholarship committee at the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.

Thomas Puffenberger

Puffenberger is seeking to follow in the footsteps of his notable father, Jack Puffenberger, a longtime elected judge who served one term on the Toledo Municipal Court bench, followed by his election to Lucas County Probate Court judge in 1991. He is now serving his fifth term on the bench, presiding over more than 3,000 adoptions in that time. Judge Puffernberger intends to run for one more term in 2020.

Toledo Municipal Court Judge Amy Berling is running unopposed in the same election. Voters first put her on the TMC bench in 1995. Polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 5, 2019.

Both Lanzinger and Puffenberger are highly qualified for the judgeship.

On the Internet:  https://www.judgelanzinger.com/




Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/29/19 12:09:12 -0800.




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