Letson not recommended for Supreme Court seat

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Ohio State Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Candidates is not recommending State Rep. Tom Letson for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.

The 25-member panel evaluated this year’s candidates on their legal knowledge and ability, professional competence, integrity, judicial temperament, personal responsibility and community service, according to a news release from the Ohio State Bar Association.

Letson, a Democrat, represents Warren in Columbus. Last December, he was charged with misdemeanor zoning violations for leasing his parents’ former home to men running a sober house for men recovering from substance abuse.

Letson is running against Justice Sharon Kennedy, who was appointed in December 2012 to serve the remainder of Yvette McGee Brown’s term. She is now seeking a full, six-year term.

She declined to participate in the Ohio Supreme Court’s evaluation process, according to the release.

The “not recommended” rating is given to candidates who receive favorable evaluations from less than 60 percent of the commission. Local attorneys on the commission are James E. Roberts of Youngstown, Kevin P. Murphy of Warren and Shirley J. Christian of Salem. The rankings are made by secret ballot.

When reached by phone Monday evening, Letson said he hasn’t seen the recommendations list yet and had no comment.

A second seat on the Ohio Supreme Court bench is being sought by two candidates who the OSBA commission “highly recommended” for the post.

Judith French, a Republican, was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court on Jan. 1, 2013, replacing Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. She is now seeking a full, six-year term. Her opponent in November is Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John O’Donnell, a Democrat.

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