The postponed Ohio Primary election of March 17 was highlighted with election results for Cuyahoga County in various races and issues. Many were looking to seek seats as jurists as many of the 34 seats in the judicial pool were looked at closely for results, which would be beneficial to the African-American community and community at large.
The 8th District Court of Appeals saw the elevation of the Honorable Emanuella Groves, who has served as a Municipal Court Judge, as the front runner for the position to be decided in November. The court is responsible for listening to decisions which have been made earlier in other area courts to determine if a fair and impartial process was used as it pertains to final decisions. The court has overturned decisions, which have resulted in defendants being found innocent and/or guilty depending on the evidence and process. Judge Groves now moves to campaign across the county to appeal to voters for their confidence in electing her to that seat.
Other seats of concern were those in the Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County. Thirty-four seats on the Common Pleas level are secured by a disproportionate representation of the community. 30% of the community is African-American and the majority of African-Americans have been sentenced or held unjustly in the county jail with outrageous bonds and under dire conditions. The faces of the Common Pleas bench are stirring for change. New candidates for the Common Pleas bench were Andrew Santoli, Colleen Reali, Lisa Forbes, Richard Bell and William Vodrey. These new faces are seeking the confidence of voters to secure seats on the Court of Common Pleas. They will be appealing to voters throughout Cuyahoga County to solicit votes as they are working from now until November.
Administrative and Presiding Judge of the Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court, Brendan Sheehan, was soundly selected to retain his seat as a jurist. Judge Sheehan faces the criticism and pressure of ensuring judicial and bail reform. My personal belief is that he has been chosen and selected by a higher power for such a time as now because this Honorable Jurist has proven to be fair, just, compassionate and equitable to our community. The postponement and delay of cases has led to many still being in the county jail and the delay of individuals being given due process. The judges on the municipal level have moved forward to assist in this process. Judge Sheehan has continued to work with an attitude of consistency to come to better conclusions on the county level to unravel this process of delay and equitable bond.
A big winner in Tuesday’s Primary and a big win for Cuyahoga County was Cheryl Stephens for Cuyahoga County Council District 10 as well as Issue 33.
A unified endorsement process was conducted in Cuyahoga County that had not been done in many years throughout the African-American Community. The NAACP rated candidates. Political Action Committees, G-PAC and FIN PAC endorsed candidates. The results were beneficial for all three groups with minimal losses in some cases.
The NAACP was thrilled with the results. They will continue to work with other community stakeholders in the election process.
Bishop Eugene Ward, President of G-PAC stated that, “We took no money from candidates nor did we caucus. We selected individuals relative to their interviewing process. I am concerned that Black candidates vying for an office are selective in the offices which they decide to run. We cannot have the Black community divided because of more than one Black desiring the same office. We also need individuals to be truthful in their support and endorsement process. We ran into a lot of that during this election and persons desiring to run for office should be sensitive to the needs of the community to have adequate representation rather than emotional prominence and status. We are at a crucial me in our election process and we must carefully scrutinize our candidates and the offices, which they seek.