By Will E Sanders
TROY — Miami County voters will decide who the next Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge is in the upcoming May 6 primary election as assistant county prosecutor Jeannine Pratt and Piqua Law Director Stacy Wall, both Republicans, face one another.
Pratt, who has not sought a previous political office, is a lifelong Republican and said she is seeking the office because she said she wants to use her legal expertise in a way that will give back to the community.
“Public service is a high calling that comes with tremendous responsibility. Miami County and its citizens provide a safe, conservative community in which to raise a family. … I want to use my 20 years of legal experience, 17 years as an assistant Miami County prosecutor, to give back to the community that has given my family such a tremendous opportunity,” Pratt said. “I want to use my experience to continue Miami County’s tradition of judicial excellence.”
Wall, a member of the Miami County Women’s Republican Club, has not sought election office before either, but has been appointed in the past to serve both the Cincinnati and Piqua legal departments.
“I have been practicing law for 16 years, 14 of those years for the government,” Wall said. “I have been the law director and prosecutor of the city of Piqua for the last seven years and the position in particular has prepared me to be the next common pleas court judge. … It is my broad experience and leadership that will allow me to proudly serve the citizens of Miami County rather than one community. … It is essential for the citizens of Miami County to have a judge that has solid experience and has demonstrated the leadership necessary to be able to decide a variety of issues.”
Pratt is a graduate of the Franklin and Marshall College with a major in government and a minor in history as a part of a pre-law program and her legal education consists of a law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where she finished in two and a half years with honor awards in federal courts and lawyering before trial.
Wall has a bachelor’s of arts in philosophy and political science from Ohio Northern University where she graduated with honors and a Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University, College of Law, where she graduated in the top 25 percent of her class.
Pratt served as a board member and secretary of the St. Patrick School Educational Committee; serves the Friends of Hayner, Inc., as president and secretary, and is a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church.
Wall serves on the Piqua United Way Board, the YMCA board of directors, Rotary, chairs the Risk Management Committee, and the Tipp City Planning Commission. She previously chaired the Tipp City Zoning Board and has performed work on the Domestic Violence Task Force.
Both candidates have different goals they wish to accomplish if elected.
Pratt said some of her goals includes helping to deal with or solve the current drug epidemic that is impacting the community while at the same time modernizing technology in the courts and maintaining the high standards of the court.
“I pledge to work tirelessly to maintain the high standards of ethics and integrity in our common pleas court,” Pratt said. “I will not engage in judicial activism. I will work to make all of Miami County proud of our courts. Decisions will be timely and the docket will run on time. … We live in an electronic age and are at a point in time where most courts are modernizing their filing systems, moving away from paper, and moving towards electronic filings. The modernization of our common pleas court’s docket and filing system is critical to containing costs and the court’s continued efficiency. My second goal will be to initiate an immediate effort to bring our courts into the modern era by implementing a cost-efficient, state-of-the-art, electronic filing system.”
Wall said two of her goals are to assist in trying to control the heroin problem in Miami County and the surrounding areas and to assist in whatever ways possible to fix the county’s jail space problem.
“My first goal is to work with Judge (Christopher) Gee on trying to control the heroin problem in the best way possible. Judge Gee has been working to certify the drug court through the Supreme Court of Ohio and I will assist Judge Gee in any way possible in implementing any required changes and in any way needed for its desired effectiveness,” Wall said. “Secondly, I will work with the necessary parties to understand any issue with jail space and how the court may assist in the issue. Lastly, my goal is to work with court personnel on the implementation of necessary policies and procedures for record retention and electronic storage.”
When it comes to the greatest need that needs to be addressed by a common pleas court judge, each candidate gave different responses.
Pratt said: “Our community deserves a common pleas court judge that is efficient and responsible to the community and the voting public. All of us are interested in community safety through the rule of law. The citizens also deserve a fair and impartial judiciary which is critical to the continued success of our common pleas court.”
Wall said: “The greatest need currently is to work with all necessary parties to address the heroin problem and how it can be controlled. … My ultimate goal is to preserve the integrity and trust of the court by remaining impartial, fair and ethical.”
Pratt, of Troy, and her husband, Andy, have two children, Caroline, 14, and Nick, 13.
Wall, of Tipp City, and her husband, Richard, are the parents of three children, Ryan, 13, Kayla, 11, and Samantha, 7.
The Miami County Bar Association conducted a poll of its membership as to the qualifications of Pratt and Wall earlier this month. In conducting the poll, 110 ballots were sent out and 80 ballots were returned. Each ballot rated both contenders as either well qualified, qualified, unqualified, or not rated, in addition to each member expressing a preference regarding the candidates.
Wall was preferred over Pratt among bar members, 41 votes to 34 votes.
The rest of the results consisted of Wall getting 35 votes for well qualified, 19 votes for qualified, 17 votes for unqualified, and eight votes for not rated. Pratt received 30 votes for well qualified, 22 votes for qualified, 18 votes for unqualified and eight votes for not rated.
The winner of the race will become the next common pleas court judge and will replace current Judge Robert Lindeman, who choose not to run for re-election. No Democrat challenger will be facing off against the winner of the primary in the general election this November.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.