As a native Clinton Countian, the Rudduck family has been a part of the community since at least 1815. I attended both Wilmington High School and Clinton Massie, graduating in 1999. After graduating from Miami University in 2003, I spent the next three years in Williamsburg, Virginia, graduating from the historic William & Mary Law school in 2006. Offered a job in Chicago related to the legal and financial arenas, I spent the next few years in Illinois before realizing there is no place like home.
Upon returning to my home county and then passing the Ohio bar exam, Bill Peelle, a close family friend, offered me a position with his law firm, where I learned firsthand what makes a great lawyer. But Bill was the county prosecutor, so I could not engage in criminal law defense work. As I wanted to engage in that type of practice, I decided to open my law practice. As a defense attorney, I saw the importance of having a Judge like my mentor, Mike Daugherty, on the bench. And then, as Village solicitor for Clarksville, New Vienna, Port William, Martinsville, and the elected law director for the city of Wilmington ultimately responsible for the prosecution of a case, I understand the need for wise decisions as a prosecutor in determining when to negotiate and when to prosecute to the fullest extent possible. It has been suggested that not only me but another candidate’s “last name” is the “sole qualification” we have for the difficult job we are seeking. After reading this biography, I hope you see how utterly ridiculous that claim, which has never been retracted, was.
Maybe you know, my father has been a judge for a few years. Ignoring that I have learned much about the law and being a judge from him would be bowing to the claim that my last name is my “sole qualification” for the position. People may not know that another former Common Pleas Judge, Luther Swaim, was born to Laura Rudduck. I never met Judge Swaim, but I respect the job my father has done.
As a person of faith who recognizes his imperfections and has been forgiven, my philosophy, not only judicially but for life, is to not judge a person by their looks, skin color, faith, wealth, etc., and even their demeanor. All judicial candidates will say they will be guided by our constitutions in interpreting the law, as will I. But I also pledge to hear all sides of the story before making decisions. I will not be afraid to make rulings in favor of defendants when the facts and law dictate; I will not be afraid to offend other branches of government in rendering decisions; and I will fulfill the primary purposes of sentencing to punish offenders, to protect the public, and to do so most efficiently and economically possible. It costs approximately $80 per day to house an inmate in the Clinton County jail. I will not hesitate to impose jail terms when necessary. But I realize we cannot incarcerate our way out of the multiple societal problems facing Clinton County and the entire country. I recognize sentencing offenders is the most difficult and potentially controversial acts a judge performs. No one size fits all philosophy should be applied. But I pledge not to be swayed by public pressure of the moment to apply a one size fits all philosophy. I will apply consistent, fair, firm sanctions and mercy principles when mercy is needed.
Balancing being a judge and an elected official I infer from this question that some may question whether a judicial decision I make would be made with political considerations as a factor. I am dismayed that questions like this even have to be asked. But I understand why it has become an issue, given the insulting way judicial candidates are treated nationally. Judges are judges twenty-four hours a day. I will not isolate myself from my community. That is not who I am. I will recuse myself from cases in which my impartiality may be called into question as the facts require. But as my answer to my judicial philosophy reveals, I will not make decisions or pledge to make decisions to get a vote. Many will disagree with the decisions I make; I respect their right to do so. The Court of Appeals stands ready to tell me when I err.
Why should voters vote for you?
I believe all three candidates are qualified to be the judge. I hired one candidate as assistant law director; my father hired an extremely qualified candidate as his magistrate. However, I believe I am uniquely in touch with the entire county, not beholden to any constituency, and creative enough to develop innovative programming to bring the entire county together to tackle our most pressing issues.
I invite you to contact me personally if you have any questions or concerns about why I am the best choice for Municipal Court Judge. My commitment to serving our county is unparalleled, and I am accessible to discuss how my experience and innovative ideas are exactly what we need for a better Clinton County. I humbly ask for your vote on May 2.