Aram Ohanian took part in The Blade's question-and answer-session with the candidates in the primary for the Perrysburg Municipal Judge opening.
On the ballot Tuesday, residents will pick between three choices for Perrysburg Municipal judge on the Republican ticket. On the Republican ballot are Mr. Ohanian, Drew Griffith, and Molly Mack.
The winner Tuesday will run against non-partisan candidate Tom Mackin, a Perrysburg councilman, in the Nov. 5 general election when voters will elect a new judge to replace Judge S. Dwight Osterud, who is retiring after 23 years on the bench. The Perrysburg Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases and small claims issues in Perrysburg, Northwood, Rossford, Walbridge, Millbury, and Perrysburg, Lake, and Troy townships.
Mr. Ohanian and his family resides in Perrysburg. He received his bachelor of science degree from Michigan State University and his his law degree at the University of Toledo College of Law in 1994. He is an assistant prosecutor in the Wood County Prosecutor's Office.
1. What changes would you make as judge?
Judge Osterud has done a great job over his 23 years on the bench in making sure that the court is well run. I hope that if I am called upon to be the next judge, I will do as good of a job as he has. There are always things that can be looked at. For instance, I think the Victim’s Advocate program is very well run. I would like to see what resources we can use to assist them in making sure that victims of crime are protected and given the opportunity to be heard. I would like to continue the outreach programs that are out there such as Mock Trial. My daughter is in Mock Trial, and I have coached Mock Trial and have judged it as well. It is a great program that needs to continue to have the full support of the court. I also want the court to be a more open and friendly place. No one is happy to be in court. It is important that the person appearing in court knows the judge has the experience to address the issues that they present.
2. As you campaign, what are you learning from the voters about their concerns about the court?
People care about the role the court plays in the community. They want to know the judge they are electing has the experience and the background to show that their judge will be committed to the job, tough when he needs to be, always fair, and has the experience to carry out all the duties required. They simply don’t need a good administrator, nor do they need an activist judge bent on legislating from the bench. They also want their judge to be active in the community. Those are all qualities I bring to this election.
3. Name a specific experience from the past that shows your ability to be a judge.
In my role as a prosecutor, I am the intial contact person on felony cases that come into the office. I have to evaluate cases, review evidence, speak to victims, speak to and line up witnesses, all within a very short time frame. I then decide what action needs to be taken by the office with the case. Does it go forward, do we resolve the case, does the victim need more support, is the evidence sufficient to allow the case to continue? I have to make the right choice, even if it may not be the popular choice. A judge has to be able to understand the issues, and have the experience to do the right thing. I have that.
4. What are your hobbies and interests outside of the courtroom?
I am actively involved in the community. Even while campaigning and working a full case load, I still have worked hard to stay involved in the community. I am a Cub Scout Den Leader, I coach youth soccer and basketball, I am involved in school related organizations, and I enjoy all of these activities. I don’t ever want to give these things up. Family is very important to me. I also enjoy fishing and playing soccer, two activities I have not had as much time for over the past few months!
5. In 25 words or less, why should voters elect you as the new judge?
Citizens deserve a judge that is committed, tough when necessary, always fair, and has the experience required to protect our community. I am that candidate.