Three candidates compete for Clark County Municipal Court judgeship

Three candidates are vying for a judgeship in the Municipal Court Building, 50 E. Columbia St., Springfield.
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Three candidates are vying for a judgeship in the Municipal Court Building, 50 E. Columbia St., Springfield.

Current judge facing 2 challengers for his seat in Nov. 2 election.

A current judge of Clark County’s Municipal Court is seeking another term as two challengers vie for his seat.

Clark County voters can cast their ballot in-person on Nov. 2.

The News-Sun submitted questionnaires to candidates to ask them about their priorities and goals if elected.

Valerie Juergens Wilt

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Valerie Juergens Wilt

Valerie Juergens Wilt
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Valerie Juergens Wilt

Juergens Wilt is vying for the role of Clark County Municipal Court judge.

Wilt grew up in Clark County and returned to the area for her work and to raise her family. Wilt has been a trial attorney for 33 years.

“I have learned so much from my clients and their experiences over the years,” Wilt said. “I want to use that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to make Clark County the best it can be.”

Juergens Wilt studied law at the University of Dayton. She is a Supreme Court certified mediator with additional certifications in domestic abuse and domestic relations issues. Aside from her legal career, Juergens Wilt also serves on the Advisory Board to PRC and is a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, Clark County Bar Association, and Ohio State Bar Association.

Juergens Wilt has identified multiple goals she would pursue if elected: first, she said she would aim to use specialized dockets in the areas of domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health. To achieve this, Wilt said she would work to organize the advisory board that is needed to create the specialized dockets, as well as establish a timeline to submit the programs for approval and certification by the Ohio Supreme Court.

“We can create programs that hold substance abusers accountable for following through with the treatment that they need, and improve mental health treatment,” Juergens Wilt said. “These programs have been proven to reduce the serious problem of repeat offenders in these areas. These programs are based on a carrot and a stick approach — the carrot of an opportunity for rehabilitation and the stick of sanctions, including incarceration, for noncompliance.”

There are more than 270 specialized docket programs in Ohio Courts, Juergens Wilt said, but none in Clark County’s adult courts.

Second, she would adopt a diversion program for the court that complies with Ohio Law. Juergens Wilt said that if elected, she would instruct the prosecutor’s office, which is responsible for establishing the diversion program, that there will be no more diversions after six months “without a compliant program.”

Third, she would aim to create a victim and witness program in the municipal court.

Dan Martin

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Dan Martin

Dan Martin
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Dan Martin

Martin, a former Springfield City Commissioner and lifelong resident of Clark County, is also running for municipal court judge.

Martin studied law at the University of Dayton, and he also has a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University. He is currently working as a principal assistant attorney general for the state.

Martin held the role of vice mayor of Springfield, and he was a member of the Friends of the Clark County Public Library, the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association and St. Bernard Church.

“My 25-plus years of experience in both private and public practice and in very diverse areas of the law help make me uniquely qualified to handle the broad array of matters that may be brought before a municipal court judge,” he said.

If elected, Martin said that he would work to implement a drug court specialized docket for Clark County Municipal Court and evaluate opportunities to reduce expenses. He also said he would engage in public outreach and education.

“I would work with the other judges in the Court to prepare and develop a proposal for certification of the specialized docket court through the Ohio Supreme,” he said. “I would also consult with the other judges regarding how court operations may be reviewed and evaluated, and look to establish best practices.”

Martin said he would also pursue the creation of a “citizen’s justice academy,” where community members could attend educational sessions or programs that would provide background information about the function and role of the local courts. He would like to see the involvement of high school or college students in this program, too.

Martin resides in the county with his wife, Holly. They have two children: Michael and Emma.

Brian Driscoll

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Brian Driscoll

Brian Driscoll
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Brian Driscoll

Driscoll is working as the municipal court judge and seeking another term following his appointment to the role in June.

Driscoll was appointed to fulfill the term of former Municipal Court Judge Denise Moody, who retired in April.

“With Judge Moody’s encouragement and support I sought out and was appointed to succeed her on the bench,” Driscoll said. “I now wish to continue to represent Clark County as a Judge so that I can continue to help make our community a safer place to work and live.”

He previously worked as the county’s assistant prosecutor. Prior to his time in the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, he worked in private practice as an attorney for Driscoll Law Office and Warden & Driscoll Law Offices, according to his campaign website. Driscoll is also a member of the Clark County Bar Association.

If elected to another term as municipal court judge, Driscoll said he would focus on protecting victims of crime from violent criminals and ensuring businesses are protected from property loss. In addition, he said he would establish a “comprehensive approach” to mental health treatment in Clark County.

He would aim to establish a mental health court that would have a drug and alcohol treatment component, as well as medication compliance. He also said he would aim to work with county leaders to create a 40- to 60-bed facility for mental health treatment. Next, he said he would also work to create a pre-charge diversion program for those linked to non-violent offenses. This program would provide mental health evaluations and treatment prior to charges being filed, Driscoll said.

Driscoll said he would also work to update the court for “a more modern age,” including the electronic filing of cases.

Driscoll studied at both Heidelberg College and Thomas Cooley Law School. Driscoll is also a graduate of Tecumseh High School and a lifelong parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New Carlisle. He and his wife, Carol, have four children: Ashlee, John, Raegan and Ava.

Aside from his legal work, Driscoll has coached youth soccer teams for the Tecumseh Area Youth Soccer Association for 18 years, and he is also a member of the Donnelsville Baseball and Softball Association.

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