LIMA — Three candidates from three different counties are seeking the Republican nomination for 3rd District Court of Appeals judge in the March 15 primary election.
Running are William R. Zimmerman Sr., Common Pleas probate and juvenile judge in Shelby County; Amy Ikerd, assistant prosecutor in Mercer County; and Richard Henry Palau, city prosecutor in Tiffin.
The winner of the Republican primary will be on the ballot in November, running against Randall Basinger, a Democrat, who stepped down as Common Pleas judge in Putnam County. The new 3rd District judge will replace Judge Richard Rogers, whose term ends next year.
The 3rd District Court of Appeals, located in Lima, comprises 17 Ohio counties in northeast Ohio. Stephen Shaw, Vernon Preston and John Willamowski are the other currently serving judges.
The three GOP candidates responded recently to a questionnaire that asked them why they are running and why they are qualified for the judgeship.
Ikerd: “I want to bring my experience, energy, and determination to this job to serve the people of the 3rd District. The 3rd District is one of the largest appellate districts in the state. I have spent nearly two years meeting with people in the district because I believe that elected officials should know the communities and people that they serve. I believe the position of judge is a responsibility and a trust. I am keenly aware of the importance of judges applying and enforcing the law and the Constitution. They must apply the law fairly and neutrally. I also believe that it is important for judges to be visible in their communities and to help educate the public on the role of the judiciary. I am committed to doing this for the 3rd District.
“My extensive legal experience, work ethic, and passion for this job makes me the best candidate for the 3rd District Court of Appeals. As an assistant prosecutor, I have represented Mercer County, its agencies, and elected officials in federal court, Bankruptcy Court, Municipal Court, Common Pleas Court, Appeals Court, and the Ohio Supreme Court. My experience includes, among others, the areas of employment law, school law, the UCC, real estate transactions, tax law, ditch law, contract law, constitutional law, public records and open meetings law, and criminal law. My job requires exceptional legal research and writing skills. These are the skills required of appellate level judges. I also am regularly asked to present training seminars to prosecutors across the state of Ohio through the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. Having practiced law for nearly 20 years, I understand the importance of applying the law as written. I do not believe in legislating from the bench. As an appellate judge I will bring my passion for law and my commitment to applying it as written to the bench and ensure that justice is served with fairness, impartiality, and integrity.”
Ikerd has been an assistant prosecutor for 17 years, and has been practicing law for 20 years. She earned a degree in political science and psychology from Miami University, and a law degree from Boston University School of Law. She said she is active in her community. She is a founding member of Women in Leadership of West Central Ohio, an organization dedicated to fostering leadership skills in our communities. She has been the chair of the Mercer County Bar Association Law Day and Education Committee for over a decade. “I enjoy that role because I want our young people to understand just how important the law is to their lives,” she said.
Palau: “The voters need to decide if they want to support the careerism of judges who quit elected positions early for their own personal advancement at taxpayer expense. Seneca County Board of Elections reports the cost of each of the 51 precincts for an election is $1,000 plus 25 cents per ballot. If the 17 precincts that did not have an election issue in May 2015 had to vote on a replacement judge, the county would have to pay an extra $17,000 cost plus ballot expenses. There would be more costs in the general election. Shelby County is very similar to Seneca in size and population. The devil is in the details.
“The voters need to decide if they want self-funded candidates for judge owing nobody but the Constitution and law or those who will take funds from other interests. Judgeships should not be for sale. I am self-funded and will not sell my soul. Our emphasis needs to be on the virtues of wisdom, strength, temperance and justice.
“The voters need to decide if they want someone well-versed in civil and criminal law as a prosecutor who protects the rule of law. I am that someone with truth tourette syndrome who will speak the veritas even if it against his own self-interest. I have written and spoken the uncomfortable truths to protect the Constitution before and during this election only to see the truth overruled at the highest level of courts in this glorious land of ours.
“The truth can be found in the natural law of our Declaration of Independence and common sense. You need to decide if you wish an emphasis on protecting the Constitution and rule of law. I am running for the appellate court to get these truths out to the voters so my children will still live in a land of liberty defined as our original founders and Abe Lincoln intended.”
Palau was adopted into a Navy family and spent much of his childhood in numerous areas of the United States. His undergraduate work was completed at the University of Virginia and his law degree from Capital University. He has one year of work with Legal Aid, and has spent the last 15 years being the assistant prosecutor for the city of Tiffin.
Zimmerman: “This seat on the Court of Appeals is to replace Judge Rogers due to retirement. My background in criminal law, juvenile law, child neglect cases, family law and probate law brings greater diversity to the current Court of Appeals judges.”
Speaking about what his goals would be, if elected, Zimmerman said, “I will work with Ohio Northern University (the only law school in this appellate district) to assist law students with trial advocacy skills. I will also continue to be active with the Ohio Supreme Court in the teaching and training of new Ohio Judges, a position I have held since 2012.”
Zimmerman was elected Probate and Juvenile Court judge for Shelby County in 2008 and re-elected in 2014. He graduated from Ohio Northern University, and completed his law studies at Ohio Northern. Sidney has been his residence for over 30 years. He and his wife, Debra, have four grown children and eight grandchildren. Prior to being elected judge, he was the Shelby County public defender from 1982 to 2006. He also is a member of Sidney Kiwanis, Holy Angels Catholic Church (past president of school board and parish council), Alpha Community Center Board, United States Supreme Court Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio Association of Common Pleas Court Judges, faculty member the Ohio judicial college.