CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Friday announced nominations to fill five vacant judicial seats in three different courts in Cuyahoga County.
Choices include two former Cuyahoga County Moot Court judges, a civilian attorney, a juvenile court magistrate, and the Brecksville city attorney.
The appointments fill three vacancies in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas following the deaths of Justices Nancy McDonnell and Joseph D. Russo, and the impending retirement of Justice Dick Ambrose. DeWine also filled positions left vacant by the death of 8th District Court of Appeal Judge Larry Jones Jr. and the September retirement of Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler.
Kenneth Callahan, a former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge, will join the bench on December 15 to take the seat emptied when McDonnell passed away in late September. He is due to run for office in 2022 to complete McDonnell’s term which expires in 2027.
Callahan presided over lawsuits in the 1990s against the efforts of then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell to move the team to Baltimore. He left the bench in 2002 after 16 years to return to private practice and recently worked for Mansour Gavin LPA.
Callahan ran for a Common Pleas open judge post in November 2020, but lost to William Vodrey. He lives in University Heights.
Wanda Jones will return to the bench in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to take the seat of Russo, who died in early October. She will begin on December 20 and must stand for election in November 2022 to complete the term that expires in 2024.
Former Governor John Kasich appealed to Jones in 2018 to fill the seat left vacant when then-Common Plea Judge Michael Donnelly was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court. Jones then lost his seat to Richard Bell in the 2020 election.
Jones, a Solon resident and a graduate of Glenville High School in Cleveland, has worked as a civil lawyer, ad litem tutor, and bank analyst.
DeWine appealed to Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Magistrate Mark Majer to replace Ambrose. He will join the bench on January 3, 2022 and must win the 2022 elections to retain his seat.
Majer, from Gates Mills, became a magistrate in 2020 and previously worked as the chief legal adviser to the juvenile court and deputy district attorney for Cuyahoga County.
Cornelius O’Sullivan, nicknamed Corky, will join the 8th District Court of Appeals on December 15. He replaces Judge Larry Jones Jr., who died suddenly in October. O’Sullivan will need to win the November 2022 election to complete the term that expires in 2027.
O’Sullivan, of Lakewood, is a partner at Weston Hurd law firm. He has worked as a civil lawyer, mediator and arbitration chair for the firm.
DeWine has also appointed Sergio DiGeronimo, longtime deputy general counsel for Brecksville and city attorney, to the bench at Garfield Heights City Court to replace Weiler, who retired from his seat in September.
DiGeronimo left the post he had held since 1998 to assume the bench on December 20. DiGeronimo, of Brecksville, will have to run for office in November 2023 to retain his seat.