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Molly Mack is starting her eighth month as Perrysburg Municipal Court judge, and there will soon be changes to fit what she wants in her court.
Technology upgrades and a domestic abuse program to help victims are some of the major alterations Judge Mack is making, but she’s trying to make an impact in the lives of those in her courtroom, too.
“We see the misdemeanors here, and we hope to stop them before they are committing felonies,” she said. “Hopefully, my decisions can change their life and be a wake-up call.”
Some say they’ll never be back in court, and then violate probation within weeks. Others follow through on their commitment.
“That’s what you hope for,” she said.
It has been tough not to take work home with her or to become emotionally invested, but Judge Mack said she knows people voted for her to serve impartially and issue appropriate punishments.
“I’m a human too — I’ve had to call a recess because it is emotional,” she said. “You have to treat it case by case though, and the humanity makes the job difficult.”
Sometimes, that leads to extra hugs for her children at home, especially when they come to the court to bring her dinner on late nights.
“I think she is an excellent judge. She is a student of the law and is always concerned about the action and advice she gives to get the best outcome,” said Wood County prosecutor Paul Dobson, a former colleague of Judge Mack.
The first program she implemented when she began in January was working with Alicia’s Voice, a domestic violence prevention and victims’ resource organization. In September, she will announce the court is doing an overhaul of its technology and online court management system, which she says hasn’t been changed in several years.
The new program will allow online payments for tickets and citations. Currently, people who get a speeding ticket, even if they aren’t local, must pay in person at the courthouse or mail a check.
“We eventually want to be paperless,” she said.
Another improvement is getting rid of the VHS taping of court procedures — which creates storage and viewing problems — and going digital.
With Perrysburg Mercy Medical Center open, she is working with the center and law enforcement on being able to use warrants in drunken-driving cases to sample blood from possible drunken drivers who chose not to take a breath test.