Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, Preble, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge

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  • Candidate picture

    Kate Bowling

  • Candidate picture

    Mary Montgomery

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for judge?

What are the two biggest issues facing the office? How would you deal with them?

What qualifies you to be a judge?

What else do you want voters to know about you?

Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor has come out publicly against State Issue 1. Where do you stand on State Issue 1?

Experience I am an Acting Judge in Kettering Municipal Court where, since 2016, I have been entrusted with handling both the Civil and Criminal Trial Dockets; felony and misdemeanor cases; sentencing; bond; pre-trial hearings and trials. As an Acting Judge I have experience on the bench as well as authoring written decisions in complex civil cases. I have been educated by the Ohio Judicial College and am certified as an Acting Judge by the Ohio Supreme Court. I have nearly ten years of experience in private practice as the owner of a law office in Dayton. I have extensive jury trial experience as well as the practical administrative experience that can only be gained in private (non-government) law practice. In addition to Acting Judge and Attorney, I am an educator. For five years, I have served on the faculty of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in one of the premiere business programs in the country. I teach Business Ethics to graduating college seniors, as well as Business Law and Estate Planning. For over a decade, I have been highly involved in both high school and college Mock Trial Programs, in order to help cultivate the next generation of talented trial attorneys. I am a former Child Protection Prosecutor, where I worked for the County to ensure that children at risk were placed in safe environments. This was cooperative work with Law Enforcement and Social Services. My diverse experience has allowed my to serve in my current position as Acting Judge in a manner that is recognized by the legal community as fair, reasonable, and respectful.
Education University of Dayton School of Law, J.D. Miami University, B.A.
I have spent my career trying cases in our County Common Pleas Court. In that time, I have developed not only a passion for the law, but also a deep respect for the Judicial Process. I have had the privilege of arguing cases in front of fair, capable, and reasonable Judges. I want to ensure that this seat is filled by someone with the experience necessary to carry on the tradition of fairness and impartiality that exists in our current Court.

I feel strongly that my combined experience as a business owner, educator, attorney, and Acting Judge will enable me to run an efficient courtroom and render decisions that are firmly rooted in reason and law. I have worked very hard throughout my career to honor the law; to work respectfully with colleagues; and to practice law with the level of decorum that I believe our Courts deserve. I will serve as Common Pleas Judge in the same manner I run my practice, my classrooms, and my municipal courtrooms - with respect, integrity, and efficiency.

We need Judges who can communicate with attorneys and litigants in a real and relatable way. We need Judges who are approachable in addition to professional. We need Judges who have spent time in the trenches - and who won't forget what it is like to work one on one with the people of this community.

Why am I running for Judge? Because I believe that this community deserves someone on the bench who not only knows the law, but who listens to people and will hear them fairly. I will be proud to serve this community as our next Common Pleas Judge.
Our Courts need to increase docket efficiency and better allocate treatment and rehabilitative resources in this time of growing substance abuse crisis.

Each Common Pleas Judge is tasked with running an efficient docket with a high case load. I will increase the use of technology in our Courtrooms not only in a trial setting, but also in a pre-trial setting to expedite the pre-trial process in our criminal and civil cases. This, in turn, will result in less in-person appearances, less defendants who fail to appear, and more stream-lined scheduling. Increased docket efficiency will save both money and time for the Court and, by extension, the County.

With respect to allocation of resources, I have served as the attorney responsible for one of our Court's special dockets and have a unique insight as to the benefits of appropriately allocated rehabilitative resources. Rehabilitation efforts (probation, programs, etc.) are only beneficial in the long run when they are offered to those most likely to be amenable to rehabilitation. In other words, I want to expand our special dockets (i.e. those dockets targeting vulnerable groups such as women, veterans, etc.) in order to ensure that we are appropriately matching services with individuals most likely to benefit from those services. Expanding our special docket programs will better match community resources with the best candidates for rehabilitation programs.
I am currently an Acting Judge. I have heard case after case and rendered decision after decision in a Court of Law for over two years. I have made tough calls on sentencing, bond, evidentiary rulings, and matters of fluctuating law. I have listened to defendants, attorneys, and victims plead their cases, and I have earned my reputation as a fair, firm, and reasonable Judge.

That experience on the bench is something that cannot be substituted or matched in this election. In addition to that judicial experience, I am well rounded as an attorney. I have been employed as a County Prosecutor, and therefore have experience as a government attorney. I have established and maintained a successful private law practice for nearly a decade. My practice has covered an expanse of practice areas ranging from commercial sales disputes to criminal defense; from environmental law to juvenile law; from protection orders to medical malpractice cases.

I also feel strongly that my position as an educator, and particularly as a business ethics professor, renders me uniquely qualified for the Common Pleas Bench. I have the research skills of an academic to match my legal skills as a seasoned trial attorney. That is an incredible combination in terms of preparation for the bench.
My approach to my work is deeply rooted in my upbringing in a rural area, where I was raised to value honest, hard work and respect for others. This approach has enabled me to establish a business, and build a positive reputation within the legal community. My husband and I are long-time Centerville residents, and have chosen this County as the place we want to raise our two young boys. I am genuinely invested in the improvement of our communities and would be humbled to have the opportunity to pursue that goal as Common Pleas Judge.
Although judicial candidates may be permitted to speak on specific issues, I find it most appropriate to remind the public and the voters that Judges do not make law. Judges apply and enforce the law, whatever it may be. I consistently remind concerned citizens that their voices and opinions as to the solutions of the opioid crisis should be directed to our State Legislatures through our elected representatives. I do believe that a relaxing of illegal substance laws in this state may not have the effect anticipated by proponents of issue 1. As an Acting Judge, I see regularly the effects of substance abuse and it is clearly devastating to individuals and families in our County. Regardless, whether Issue 1 passes or not, our Judges will be tasked with balancing accountability and rehabilitation with respect to any defendant in our Court while applying the law as written. That is something that I will do without question.
Experience I have been an attorney for twenty years. I have served the citizens of Montgomery County for the entirety of those twenty years as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. I have held the position of Supervising Attorney at Care House, the County's Child Advocacy Center, where I solely prosecuted child physical and sexual abuse cases. From there, I was promoted to Intake Supervisor, overseeing the attorneys assigned to presenting Grand Jury Hearings and Preliminary Hearings. I was next promoted to Trial Supervisor, where I spent several years training and supervising attorneys assigned to various Common Pleas Court Judges' dockets. Since 2014, I've been the Chief of the Civil Division of the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office. The Civil Division, by statute represents Montgomery County, all of the elected officials (both republican and democrat), all County Departments and agencies, as well as representing the County in all litigation matters. The Civil Division acts as the law firm for Montgomery County. These responsibilities including handling personnel matters for over 4000 employees, which includes the handling of workers' compensation claims, arbitration matters, discipline and the like. Further, the Division handles the tax foreclosures for Montgomery County, forfeitures of seized property, eminent domain matters, contracts, real estate issues, as well as handling environmental matters for Environmental Services (water, sewer, trash). Additionally, during my career, I've handled thousands of cases, including jury and bench trials in both Common Pleas and Federal Courts. I am admitted to practice in the State of Ohio, Federal District Court, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the United States Supreme Court. I have spent my entire career weighing and balancing the facts and evidence of each and every case to ensure a balanced and fair approach so that justice is served, victims' rights are respected and defendants' rights are protected.
Education EDUCATION: University of Dayton School of Law, Dayton, Ohio Juris Doctor, May 1998; Ohio University, Athens, Ohio Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, June 1994 Political Science
I am running for Judge of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court because I want to ensure the candidate that fills Judge Langer's open seat has the same judicial temperament and superb legal skills that Judge Langer possesses. Having spent the past twenty years as a prosecutor practicing in front of the Judges of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, I fully understand and appreciate just how important a well-run and efficient court is to our community. With my depth and breadth of legal experience in both criminal and civil law, I bring unique perspectives and qualifications to the Court. Many times Judges are elected with either criminal or civil experience, but rarely is one elected with comprehensive experience in both criminal and civil law. I have extensive experience in both areas of the law. This experience is vitally important to this position, good for the community and invaluable to the attorneys that practice before the court, as well as their clients. Lastly, I want to make certain that respect of the rule of law, impartiality, fair administration of justice, and professionalism among the attorneys and the parties that come before the Court are of paramount importance. Therefore, I am running for Judge to ensure the integrity of the judiciary is upheld.
The two issues that loom large before the Court right now are the unfunded mandates handed down by the legislature regarding mandatory probation for low-level felony offenses and the on-going drug crisis in our community. With the best of intentions, the legislature has mandated that offenders convicted of low level felony offenses, mainly focused on drug offenses, cannot be sent to prison. This mandate was well-intentioned in that it recognized addiction is a disease and not a moral shortcoming, but the state failed to provide funding for the necessary drug treatment. Working for the County, I know the various County agencies, departments and resources that are available for drug treatment and intervention services. I am very familiar with these agencies and can link the vast County resources that are available to the Court and its probation department so the most effective drug treatment can be provided, as well as other daily life skills, in order to help the individual overcome their addiction and become a productive member of our community. Additionally, the Court already has in place the STOP program, Intervention in Lieu of Conviction, Day Reporting and Drug Court. I will continue to build upon those existing programs with the resources available in Montgomery County. For the safety of our community, we want those that come before the Court for low level felony drug offenses to be provided the best possible treatment to overcome their addiction. Doing so lessens crime in our neighborhoods and promotes the safety of our community. While I will work within the legislative mandates, I will continue to be strict with those who commit high level felony offenses, including violent offenders, and those who commit property crimes. Lastly, there must be personal responsibility and accountability, and while addiction is a disease, the individual must take responsibility for their actions and be accountable in their drug treatment program.
I should be elected to the position of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge because I have 20 years of experience handling felony criminal and civil matters in Common Pleas and Federal Court. My depth of experience and accumulated knowledge in both felony criminal and civil matters makes me uniquely qualified for this judicial seat. Having handled thousands of cases throughout my career, as well as numerous bench and jury trials, I have experienced a variety of judicial temperaments and philosophies and I will take the best qualities from these various judges and implement those when elected. In the end, having a firm understanding of courtroom procedures, rules of evidence and criminal/civil procedure, and the workings of criminal and civil cases makes the judicial process better for both the attorneys involved and those individuals coming before the court. In my current role as Chief of the Civil Division of the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, I am well-versed in contracts, real estate, injunctions, employment matters, foreclosures, and a myriad of other areas of civil law, including a deep knowledge of County government operations. This extensive knowledge base allows me to understand the underlying issues of those types of cases that come before the Common Pleas Court. Having a Judge that understands the fundamental concepts and complexities of the legal issues brought before the Court is crucial to the efficiency of the court and to the cases that come before it.
I am married to David Montgomery, whom I met while we were both attending the University of Dayton School of Law. We will be married 18 years this November and have three children. We have two girls, ages 10 and 8 and a son, who is 4 years old. My husband was born and raised in Dayton and while I was not raised in Dayton, I have lived here since 1995 and consider it home. I lived in a variety of cities growing up and attended 13 different schools. I've lived in Dayton longer than I've lived anywhere else and so it is home for me. I am an active volunteer in my community, examples of which include my current role serving as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for my daughter's troop, and a former member of the Dayton Art institute Associate Board. I enjoy reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with my family. I am also a member of the Dayton Bar Association, The Dayton Lawyer's Club, and a Member of Inn of Court.

I have been endorsed by the Dayton FOP Lodge 44, the Montgomery County FOP Lodge 104, Auditor Karl Keith, Engineer Paul Gruner, Recorder Brandon McClain, Prosecutor Mat Heck, Treasurer Carolyn Rice, Commissioner Dan Foley, Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, Commissioner Judy Dodge, Mayor Dick Church of Miamisburg, Former County Administrator Joe Tuss and Former County Administrator Deborah Feldman, as well as the Miami Valley Trial Lawyers Association.

I truly care about this community and want to continue making a difference as a public servant, as I've done for the past 20 years as a prosecuting attorney.
The Ohio Judicial Canons prohibit judicial candidates from taking positions on issues that could come before the Court. Therefore, I will not state whether I am for or against Issue 1. What I do believe is important to point out, however, is that in Montgomery County, the Court offers drug treatment to first time felony offenders through the Intervention of Lieu of Conviction (ILC) Program. If the defendant is successful, their case is dismissed and they do not have a felony conviction and the collateral consequences that come along with being a convicted felon. Further, whether or not someone is charged with felony or misdemeanor possession of Heroin, Fentanyl, Oxcontin or any other drug that is now the subject of Issue 1, the person is still an addict, is still someone who has been arrested and convicted of a crime (whether a felony or misdemeanor) and is still someone in need of drug treatment. Thus, the legislature's desire to decriminalize drug addiction by possibly lowering the penalty levels for possession of certain drugs, still does not negate the offender's need for drug treatment and how, at the County (felony level drug offense) or Municipal (misdemeanor drug offense) level that treatment will be provided and paid for. By comparison, the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and the County's probation department have far more resources to provide drug treatment options to offenders than municipal courts. Nevertheless, drug addiction is a dire health crisis in need of true dialogue among community leaders and health care providers, irrespective of the label of misdemeanor or felony tied to the charge of possession of drugs.