ELECTION 2020: 2 Republicans running for probate judge in Butler County

Two Republicans are vying for the Butler County Probate Judge seat during the March 17 primary, and the winner, because there is no Democrat running, will be the first new judge to hold the gavel in 25 years.

Judge Randy Rogers, who has held the position since 1995, is retiring. Two attorneys, Heather L. Cady and John M. Holcomb, are the contenders. Barring a write-in candidate, the winner will run unopposed in the November general election.

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Cady is currently probate court magistrate and also serves as court administrator. She previously served as magistrate in Butler County Common Pleas Court for Judge Keith Spaeth and was in private practice in Oxford. Cady has bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a law degree from Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

“I am the only candidate with judicial experience running for the probate court. This experience includes 15 years as a magistrate at Butler County Common Pleas with 11 years in general division and another four years in probate division,” Cady said.

Cady said everyone will need the services of a probate court “from time to time in their life.”

“Most people think the probate court only handles estates and trusts. The Ohio Constitution and the Ohio Revised Code designates 620 jurisdictional duties to the probate court. These include cases dealing with mental incompetence, disability, mental illness, adult protective services, adoptions, marriage licenses, name changes, and guardianships” Cady said.

The future concerns facing the probate court include increasing the number of addiction and mental health cases and the way the government wants to handle the issues, according to Cady.

“The probate court has one of the most effective civil commitment programs to assist with the mental health issues which already protect our citizens’ due process rights,” she said. “The Butler County probate court has started one of the first Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs to help with the addiction crisis. This program provides treatment outside of the criminal justice system and results in financial independence and sobriety.”

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Holcomb is a member of Holcomb & Hyde LLC law firm on High Street in Hamilton specializing in civil and criminal trials, probate, and domestic relations law. He served as Butler County assistant prosecuting attorney from 1993 to 2000. He represented indigent clients charged with felony offenses in federal court as a member of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio CJA Panel from 2001 to 2006.

Holcomb received a bachelor’s degree from Miami University and graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

He said he is the only candidate ranked “highly recommended by the Butler County GOP screening committee and is the only candidate endorsed by Sheriff Richard Jones and Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.”

Holcomb said through his own practice and talking with other attorneys, the biggest issue facing probate court is slow processing and turn-around of documents.

If elected, Holcomb said he would set duty hours for magistrates and set computerization of the court information.

“Court magistrates should have set duty hours when they will be available to attorneys or the public, as appropriate, for the review of time-sensitive documents. If you have a closing of a real estate transaction scheduled, and it is being delayed due to the delay in issuance of a probate form, I will ensure that your lawyer has the opportunity to meet with a court magistrate,” Holcomb said.

“While the court has take some steps towards computerization, they are woefully inadequate. I will ensure that the court continues to move into the 21st Century through the adoption of modern equipment and workflows.”

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