GALLIPOLIS — Citing a need for innovation and change in the local judiciary, former Judge William S. Medley has formally announced his candidacy for Judge of the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas.
Medley previously served as Gallipolis Municipal Court judge from 1993 until 2002, when he was elected judge of the Probate/Juvenile Division of Common Pleas Court.
Medley left the bench in 2004 as the result of the findings of an inquiry by the Ohio Supreme Court. He was sanctioned by the court for violations of procedural provisions of the code of professional responsibility and code of judicial conduct. Following his 2004 suspension, Medley returned to the Probate/Juvenile bench in December 2005. He served until 2008, when he was defeated in the Republican primary that year.
He is currently seeking election to the common pleas court as an independent.
Current Common Pleas Judge D. Dean Evans is stepping down because Ohio law restricts the candidacy of a judge seeking re-election beyond the age of 70. Current Gallipolis Municipal Court Judge Margaret Evans is also seeking the open seat on the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas. She won the Republican Party’s nomination to the bench earlier this year during the primary election.
“While I accept and respect the action of the Supreme Court,” Medley said in announcing his bid for the open seat on the Gallia court, “I believe my tenure as magistrate, municipal court, and common pleas court judge is best represented by the value of the positive innovations introduced during my administration.”
Medley said his desire to seek election to the common pleas bench for Gallia County is driven by his belief that, like other aspects of governmental activity, “the courts have grown static in their day-to-day activities and are in need of innovations to address the challenging times of a changing community.”
“I have served the Gallia County community in multiple roles over the past 30 years,” he said. “All too often, I see the same people with the same names doing the same things at all levels of government.
“As the only candidate not a part of that establishment,” he added, “I guarantee I will eliminate partisanship from the court; in light of the current heroine epidemic and the resulting crime that results from that epidemic, it will be my mission to introduce enlightened and innovative ideas … ideas needed to cope with the rapidly changing community and society in which we live.”
As Gallia County Common Pleas judge, Medley said he would pledge to focus on issues such as:
• Opposing the established systems of power that permeate so much of local government operations;
• Establishing an efficient courtroom for victims, defendants, attorneys and witnesses in both civil and criminal proceedings;
• Ensuring the citizens of Gallia County that crime and criminals will be taken seriously so that the safety of the community is paramount;
• Continuing to be an active member of the community;
• Encouraging crime prevention with young citizens; and,
• Protecting taxpayers from financial waste through effective budgeting.
“I want to have the most positive impact I can on our community, and serving as common pleas judge would allow me to make additional contributions in a positive way,” he said.
While looking to the future, Medley emphasized the things he and his staffs accomplished during his previous terms in office. As municipal judge, Medley started a program that provided free mediation services to all Gallia County residents and was funded through court costs, not tax dollars. He was also instrumental in starting Gallia County’s first domestic violence program, funded through a state grant. Medley started the Carteens program, a collaborative effort of the court, the Ohio Extension Office and 4-H. The program was endorsed by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“Hopefully, the voters will recognize my prior and continuing commitment to our community and the work I have done to ensure justice for all,” Medley said. “Serving as common pleas court judge will allow me to use my knowledge of the law to focus on matters that greatly affect our community.”
Medley said he is particularly proud of the “Mock Trial” program he initiated while serving as a magistrate; it continued when he ascended to the bench, and and has lasted for 20 years. A mock trial is a simulation trial conducted by students to understand the rules and processes in a real trial. All the procedures in an actual trial are conducted in a mock trial, but in an abbreviated form.
While presiding as judge of the juvenile division of common pleas court, the amount it received from the state in reclaim funding went from $7,515 in 2002, the year before he took office, to $214,648. Medley attributed the dramatic increase to a change in attitude toward sentencing and his use of local resources to address youthful offender problems.
“I’ve spent the last 30 years serving Gallia County and its residents as a college professor, defense attorney for indigent defendants, magistrate, municipal judge and probate-juvenile judge,” he said. “I look forward to continuing that commitment for at least the next six years if given that chance by the voters of this county.”