A Cedarville University law professor has been appointed Clark County Juvenile Court judge — a position that handles cases for more than 4,000 children annually with a more than $4.5 million general fund budget.
South Charleston resident Robert Vaughn will take office on Oct. 2, Gov. John Kasich announced Thursday. He will replace Judge Joseph Monnin, who recently retired after 22 years on the bench.
“It’s been a goal for a long time and I’m very excited to get started,” Vaughn said.
The juvenile court, a division of the Clark County Common Pleas Court, has more than 80 employees. The judge oversees both the juvenile clerk of court’s office and the detention center, which employs cooks, teachers, bailiffs, stenographers and other administrative positions.
Monnin’s salary was set at about $133,000 annually, per Ohio statute. The juvenile judge handles a variety of cases, including delinquency, paternity, traffic and custody.
Vaughn was chosen from a group of three candidates designated by the Clark County Republican Party that included magistrate Katrine Lancaster and Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Carey.
Vaughn received his Bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and his law degree from Capital University. He is currently employed as an associate professor and assistant university counsel at Cedarville University.
Vaughn is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and a faculty trustee for the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education.
He previously served seven years as a staff attorney at the Ohio Supreme Court and later moved into private practice at Cedarville University in order to gain more experience to become a judge, he said.
“Obviously you don’t just become a judge right out of law school,” Vaughn said. “You have to gain the requisite experience.”
Vaughn doesn’t plan any major changes at the juvenile court and wants to continue the strong tradition set by Monnin, he said.
“Judge Monnin has just done an amazing job in the last 22 years,” Vaughn said. “He’s got a great staff. I’ve been in that court enough to know the people there have a great heart, a heart for kids. I really hope I can be as effective as he’s been over the years. He runs a really good operation there. I have a great respect for him.”
Monnin’s term was set to expire at the end of the year, meaning Vaughn will have to run for re-election next year and may face a primary in May. He previously ran for a seat on the Second District Court of Appeals in November 2014 and was defeated by incumbent Judge Jeffrey Froelich in a six-county race.
“I did really well in Clark County,” Vaughn said.
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By the numbers
4,000: Children’s cases annually at the Clark County Juvenile Court
$4.5 million: General fund budget of the juvenile court
80: Employees at the juvenile court
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