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Judge Myron Duhart seeks to retain seat on bench

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa

Oct. 26, 2012: Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Myron Duhart will find out in less than two weeks whether he will retain his seat on the bench that he has held for nearly two years.

The 43-year old husband and father of three grew up in humble beginnings in the central city, but now resides in Sylvania. Duhart played sports growing up and graduated from St. Francis de Sales High School.

After graduation, Duhart enlisted and served 14 years in the U.S. Army, the first decade on active duty. The remainder of his military career was spent as a reservist, a first lieutenant with the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Army officers who are also lawyers and who provide legal services at all levels of command. Some Army JAG Corps attorneys prosecute courts-martial, while others serve as defense counsel. Duhart did both, as well as some administrative duties.

Judge Myron Duhart

While serving in the military, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wright State University and later received a juris doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law.

Before entering private practice as an attorney, Duhart worked for two judges as a law clerk. One he called a personal and professional mentor, Robert W. Penn, who served as a Toledo Municipal Court judge.  After Penn retired from the bench, Duhart also worked briefly for Judge Amy Berling.

“Through that experience, I got a chance to work hand-in-hand with the judiciary and got to know many of the judges in town, Duhart said. “That was one of the other things that encouraged me to progress in my career.”

Duhart has worked for both the Lucas County and Wood County public defender’s offices, the legal department at Fifth Third Bank, and even litigated death penalty cases.

Duhart spent 16 years practicing civil and criminal law in probate, municipal, state, and federal courtrooms. His private law practice focused on the areas of criminal defense and personal injury. Then-Ohio governor Ted Strickland appointed Duhart to fill a vacancy in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in late 2010 following the resignation of Judge Charles J. Doneghy.

“As an attorney we all consider whether or not you’d want to be a judge. I was no different. I always knew I wanted my career to progress and if the opportunity ever came up to advance my career I’d pursue it,” he said. An unusual series of events occurred and I was able to take advantage of it.”

In the recent Toledo Bar Association's 2012 judicial candidate poll, Duhart received the highest ratings among judges and candidates in Common Pleas Court at 93 percent.

“I was humbled and happy to see that,” he said. You’re always flattered when your colleagues see you in that light.”

Aside from his membership in several bar associations and law-related organizations, Duhart mentors young people and serves as a board member at the Frederick Douglass Community Center not far from his childhood home.

“Every day I wake up I try to be firm, fair and consistent, I try to bring that attitude to the bench. I’m a man of faith,” he said. “I’m of the firm belief you can get far in life with hard work. As judges, we are the faith of fairness and equality.”

The Democrat is being challenged for a six-year term on the bench by Republican Kenneth Phillips, who’s making his first bid for elective office. Phillips has practiced law for 25 years and currently handles mainly juvenile court cases as a staff attorney for an alternative court. His most notorious case involved defending Robert Jobe, a teen convicted of killing Toledo police detective Keith Dressel several years ago. 

But Duhart believes his varied experience as an attorney and brief time as a judge sets him apart from his political opponent.

“Anyone who comes before me, I want them to feel you’ve taken the time and energy to hear their side of the case, hear the issues, thought conscientiously about their decision, and were fair and consistent in that decision,” he said. “That’s the philosophy I bring to the bench.

Duhart also brings a business sense to the bench. He and his wife Nicole are the proprietors of several tax preparation franchises throughout Toledo and The Melting Pot restaurant. His believes his varied personal and professional experiences allow him to see all sides of a situation in court.

“No situation is black-and-white. There’s always an underbelly to the circumstances that come before you,” he said. “Judges have life experiences and legal experiences they bring to the bench to fairly and conscientiously make a decision.


Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/23/12 18:29:42 -0700.




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