Hyman, Rister vie for court seat in Paulding County

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PAULDING -- Two individuals are vying to become Paulding County Court judge in the November election.

David Hyman and Suzanne Rister are running to fill the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2014. The unexpired term is because Judge Tiffany Beckman left the county court to become judge of the court of common pleas in 2011.

Rister was appointed to the post by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Both Hyman and Rister have been in private practice as attorneys. Hyman has had nearly 34 years in the private practice in Ohio, while Rister also has several years in private practice.

Each candidate has specific goals for the office to make it run more efficiently.

Here is a look at the candidates:

Name: David Hyman

Age: 58

Address: 302 N. Cherry St., Paulding

Education: Paulding High School graduate, 1972; Ohio Northern University graduate, 1975; Pettit College of Law graduate, 1978.

Family: wife, Jackie (Meeks) Hyman; children, Rachel, Erin, Gretchen, Harvey and James

Occupation: attorney; formerly assistant Paulding County prosecutor for 21⁄2 years, village solicitor at various times for seven different Paulding County villages.

Previous political offices: Paulding Township trustee

Party affiliation: Republican, but the county court judgeship is a nonpartisan position

Reason for seeking office: I am very interested in taking on the duties and challenges of this judicial position, having represented clients throughout my career in various courts throughout the state as an advocate. I would like the opportunity to serve the residents of my county as their county court judge and to see that justice is rendered there both correctly and as speedily as the process allows.

What are your qualifications for the position: I have practiced in the Paulding County Court since my second year in law school due to an intern program which was available then. I assisted the county prosecutor in trials and other areas. Once I had passed the bar examination and been sworn in to practice law in Ohio, I acted as assistant prosecutor for 21⁄2 years -- nearly all of it in the Paulding County Court. In addition, I have practiced in that court, both in civic and criminal cases throughout my years of practice. I know the court and its operation very well and would feel comfortable as judge there if elected.

Top three goals (and how you expect to achieve them): 1. I would like to speed up the rendering of decisions in civil cases. My experience over the years in researching and writing appellate and trial briefs would aid me. 2. I would like to speed up the arraignment and hearing process.

Over the past two years, while my opponent has occupied the bench there, it has become common to have to wait one or two hours, or even longer, to have scheduled cases heard. 3. By personal involvement during the process, I believe that I can speed up pretrials.

Name: Suzanne Shuman Rister

Age: 50

Address: Antwerp

Education: DeKalb High School graduate, 1980; Indiana University; Valparaiso University School of Law.

Family: husband, Normal; children, Elizabeth and Seth

Occupation: judge of Paulding County Court (part time) and attorney (part time), working at Rister Law Office

Previous political offices: appointed judge of Paulding County Court in 2011

Party affiliation: N/A

Reason for seeking office: I have a strong desire for public service and I believe this is an area where I can effectively serve my community.

What are your qualifications for the position: Judicial experience; I was appointed by the governor in January 2011 and have over 80 hours of judicial training from the Ohio Judicial College through the Ohio Supreme Court since taking the bench. I also have a well-rounded educational and professional background.

Top three goals (and how you expect to achieve them): 1. Improve the efficiency of the court through technology; Already, I worked to upgrade computer software, replace computers (some were seven years old), and upgrade the recording system in the court from cassette tapes to a digital system. (All these improvements are funded through user fees generated by the court); 2. Improve the services in County Court Probation Department with better program planning and offering programs in-house rather than contract that service to outside agencies, consistent implementation of programs for those on probation; establish accountability of the probationers in the system. 3. Improve collection of restitution, fines and court costs. By utilizing a collection agency that specializes in collecting funds owed to courts, I have increased the collection of outstanding obligations to the court. This is at no expense to the taxpayer as the collection agency adds their fee on to the total owed and the court always receives 100 percent of the amount owed from the offender; the offender pays for the collection costs.

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