Judge delay throws wrench into replacement process

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The decision this week for a Mahoning County judge to delay his retirement by a month is having a big impact on the local political scene.

Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge James Evans is stepping down, having reached the state’s mandatory retirement age for judicial positions. But this week, he sent a letter to the Ohio Supreme Court indicating he will be pushing back his last day from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1. 

That passes up a deadline for would-be successors to get on the November ballot to have voters decide who fills out the rest of Evan’s unexpired term. Now, the person selected by Gov. John Kasich will serve until the current term ends in December 2016.

“I am very disappointed that the voters put Judge Evans there, he has decided not to fulfill his term, which is his right, but then he should let the voters decide who his replacement is, not the governor,” said Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras.

While the Judge did not want to discuss his plans, the letter he sent to the Supreme Court this week indicates Evans wants his eventual successor to have the chance to settle into the new position and not have to run an election campaign right after being appointed.

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