Longtime Butler County judge to retire this month

Updated Jan 03, 2016

Longtime Butler County Common Pleas Judge Patrica Oney will retire on Jan. 31, a year shy of the date her term would end in 2017.

Oney, who was elected in 1998 and was the county’s first female common pleas general trial judge, submitted her letter of retirement on Dec. 21 to the other six judges as well as Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Conner and Gov. John Kasich.

“It has been with great pleasure that I have served the citizens of Butler County as a Common Pleas Judge since 1999 and I regret that will not complete my term which ends on Jan. 1, 2017,” Oney wrote in the letters.

Other county common pleas judges and visiting judges are presiding over Oney’s criminal dockets until her official retirement date, according to Gary Yates, common pleas court administrator.

The governor’s office will appoint someone to fill the reminder of Oney’s term once she leaves office, Yates said.

Oney was not able to run for a fourth six-year term due to age limitations. Ohio law prevents election to a judgeship after the age of 70. She is 73 years old.

Greg Stephens, assistant county prosecutor, is the Republican candidate for Oney’s seat in the March primary election.

Oney, an Oxford resident, grew up in West Virginia, but did not begin her adult life as a law student. The eldest daughter of a physician, Oney earned her first degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1965 in microbiology and a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in bacteriology in 1970. In 1975, she took up law, earning a degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Oney began her legal career as an assistant public defender in Montgomery County then moved on to private practice for 20 years in Butler County, “taking anything (cases) that came in the door,” she previously told the Journal-News. Her first judgeship was in Area I Court in Oxford, where she served from 1993 to 1999 before moving to her post in common pleas court.

Oney’s husband is a retired dentist and they have one son and grandchildren.

Oney could not be reached for comment.