SIDNEY — Gary J. Carter, long-time magistrate of the Shelby County Common Pleas Court, has announced that he will be a Republican candidate in the 2019 election for Sidney Municipal Court Judge. Denny York, former Shelby County auditor, will serve as campaign treasurer.
“I have spent the past 28 years serving the people of Shelby County, by handling substantial portions of the caseloads of many well-respected, local judges,” Carter said. “I am truly blessed to have been mentored by such skilled and experienced judges.”
Carter said he has strong, conservative, Republican values. He is an active member of St. Michael Catholic Church, serving as lector and men’s conference planner and emcee. Carter is also a long-time member and supporter of the Shelby County Right to Life, the Shelby County Farm Bureau, and the National Rifle Association. He is also a Third-Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus.
As magistrate, Carter affirmed he, “protects and defends the Constitution, and interprets it according to its text. My goal has always been to listen fully, and I want to make sure the parties understand why a certain decision was made. People are more likely to accept responsibility for their own actions, and less likely to reoffend, if they understand why they received a particular punishment. People want to feel that they have been treated fairly.”
He has heard cases involving domestic violence and stalking protection orders, detention hearings, traffic violations, property disputes and contempt proceedings, which are issues that often arise in Municipal Court. Carter has also heard divorce, custody and child support issues. Magistrate Carter has written decisions that have been affirmed by the Third District Court of Appeals, as well as the Ohio Supreme Court.
“I am committed to being fair and impartial to all who come before me in court,” Carter said. “I treat everyone with courtesy and respect. I am experienced in running a courtroom, and I strive to be both smooth and efficient.”
Carter said his personality is well-suited to serving in the role of a judge, because consistently showing an even temperament is part of who he is as a person.
Carter shared that he has developed and improved programs for the Common Pleas Court. He established a divorce clinic, so low income people can have access to the court system, by collaborating with Legal Aid and the Shelby County Bar Association. Carter also worked to improve the parenting program for separating parents by collaborating with Catholic Social Services. Additionally, he worked to reduce the number of domestic violence incidents and better assist victims by working with law enforcement and New Choices through the Shelby County Domestic Violence Prevention Coalition.
Regarding his academic and professional credentials, Carter earned a diploma from Wapakoneta High School, a Bachelor of Science in education from Wright State University, and a law degree from the University of Dayton. Prior to becoming magistrate, he served as managing attorney for the legal aid office serving Logan and Shelby counties, assistant county prosecutor for Darke County and staff attorney for Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Carter reported he became a board-certified specialist in family law in 2000, the first in Shelby County. He has taught continuing legal education classes and served as a judge in mock trial and brief-writing competitions for law students. He currently serves on the Ohio State Bar Association Council of Delegates, which makes recommendations to the Ohio Legislature regarding proposed new laws.
“I always thought of Shelby County as being like my backyard, because I have family here,” said Carter. “Our family had many good times visiting with Uncle Eugene and Aunt Mary Dietz and my cousins in Botkins, as well as Uncle Bob and Aunt Ruth Barhorst and my cousins in Fort Loramie.
“We fished and boated at my Grandpa and Grandma Bensman’s cottage on Filburn’s Island,” Carter said. “I married a Shelby County farm girl, the former Pam Westerheide, a Fort Loramie High School graduate. She previously taught 11 years at Russia Local School and now teaches at Edison Community College. We have two sons, Matt and Luke, and we live and work on our fourth-generation family farm in the Fort Loramie School district.”
Carter, the youngest son of Joseph and Ruth Carter, said he grew up in a “service focused” family. His dad was an elementary school principal and youth recreation center manager. His mom was a junior high school teacher, who later became the first woman elected to Wapakoneta City Council. Carter said he inherited his parents’ passion for community service. He is a past president of Sidney Kiwanis Club and Sidney Jaycees, and he is currently on the Kiwanis Board of Directors and chairs its scholarship committee. He served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Area Agency on Aging, overseeing funding for seniors in nine counties, including Shelby. He also is a voting delegate to the Shelby County Coalition on Aging. He serves on the Turtle Creek Township Zoning Board and the Sidney Airport Advisory Board.
“I would like to be able to apply my judicial experience at the next level for the benefit of everyone in our county,” said Carter, who explained he wants to take his judicial experience and collaborative skills to the Sidney Municipal Court, where he plans to use both existing and new programs and find additional treatment opportunities for deserving offenders, so that they can restore their lives and become productive, law-abiding citizens.
“I promise that I will use the power of the court fairly to all those who come before it. This is what I have been doing for the past 28 years as your Common Pleas Court magistrate. I would be honored, blessed and humbled to be the next Sidney Municipal Court judge,” said Carter.