How the Judicial Advisory Group Works

Updated: 3 days ago

By Scott R. Mote, Esq., Executive Director of the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program

Consider this scenario: An attorney (or judge, attorney, magistrate, co-worker) notices that for the past couple months, Judge M, usually a spunky and positive leader, just hasn’t been herself. She has been yawning on the bench, snapping at people in the courtroom, arriving late to meetings and keeping to herself. When asked how she is doing, she retreats to her chambers, and she refuses to participate in small talk. She is isolating herself, and one of the assistants saw her act unprofessionally to another judge. When confronted about her behaviors, she just says that she is more tired than usual.

The attorney’s concern for Judge M is legitimate. Judge M could be trying to deal with many situations. She could be stressed, depressed, grieving, have a decline in cognitive functioning, self-medicating with substances. The possibilities are endless. The attorney should have a confidential conversation with a member of the Judicial Advisory Group (JAG).

The Judicial Advisory Group is comprised of judges who work with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP) to provide confidential assistance to the judiciary.

JAG helps OLAP:

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  • Screen referrals regarding judges/magistrates to be sure they represent genuine concerns.

  • Respond to judges/magistrates who need help in ways that address the demands of their responsibilities and positions.

Brought to you by the Ohio Judicial Conference and OLAP, JAG helps the judiciary in several areas:

  • Issues of judicial temperament and diligence that on their face do not rise to disciplinary violations

  • Burnout, stress, and other debilitating conditions

  • Depression or other mental health issues

  • Substance use disorder (alcohol and drugs)

  • Screen referrals regarding judges/magistrates to be sure they represent genuine concerns

  • Respond to judges/magistrates who need help in ways that address the demands of their responsibilities and positions

What do I do if I need help?

As a member of the judiciary, you might find yourself struggling with the day-to-day responsibilities that come along with the job. Example: You are a judge who has been having trouble sleeping, occasional nightmares, drinking more than usual and unmotivated. Being a judge is stressful, so you are prone to issues that affect your mental health, such as depression, secondary trauma, burnout, etc. When your mental health starts to interfere with your quality of life and responsibilities as a judge, it is time to ask for help. You should have a confidential conversation with a member of the Judicial Advisory Group.

What happens when I call a member of JAG?

If you are concerned about another judge, and decide to call JAG, know that JAG is 100% confidential, so the judge in question will never know who called unless you consent to your identity being disclosed. JAG, along with OLAP, will take the steps necessary to ensure that the concern is legitimate.

If you are calling on behalf of yourself, the JAG member will talk with you and help you through the issue. It is comforting to speak with another judge who understands the stresses of the job.

To contact a member of JAG, find a judge in your area from the list below. For example, a judge in Stark County would call a JAG member in or near Stark County. The JAG member will talk with the person and determine if the judge needs to contact the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program.

If you or another judge or magistrate are having problems with substance use disorder, increased alcohol consumption, addiction or mental health, don't let fear prevent you from contacting the Judicial Advisory Group. No potential disciplinary situation will be made worse if you contact us.

JAG Members

JAG members represent all jurisdictions and areas of Ohio. Contact any member with a concern:

Judge Jack R. Puffenberger, Chair, Lucas Co. Probate, judgepuff@gmail.com

Judge Debra L. Boros, Retired, Vice Chair, Lorain Co. Domestic Relations, debboros@aol.com

Judge David B. Bender, Fayette Co. Probate/Juvenile, fayettecrew@yahoo.com

Judge David Bennett, Guernsey Co. Probate/Juvenile, dbbennett60@gmail.com

Judge Beth Cappelli, Fairborn Municipal, bethxenia@yahoo.com

Judge Patricia A. Delaney, Fifth District Court of Appeals, patdelaney64@yahoo.com

Judge Kevin Dunn, Medina Co. Probate/Juvenile, kevin@attykevindunn.com

Judge Randall Fuller, Delaware Co. Domestic Relations, rfuller@midohio.net

Judge Michelle Garcia Miller, Jefferson Co. Common Pleas, mmiller@jeffcch.com

Judge Barbara P. Gorman, Montgomery Co. Common Pleas, herhonr@yahoo.com

Judge Paula Giulitto, Portage Co. Domestic Relations, pgiulitto2@aol.com

Judge Howard H. Harcha, III, Scioto Co. Common Pleas, hharcha@adelphia.net

Judge Kimberly Kellog-Martin, Logan Co. Family, irishskruffy@yahoo.com

Judge William A. Klatt, Tenth District Court of Appeals, waklatt@franklincountyohio.gov

Judge Denise Moody, Clark Co. Municipal, dmoody193@gmail.com

Judge Beth A. Myers, First District Court of Appeals, bam6710@aol.com

Judge Cynthia Westcott Rice, Eleventh District Court of Appeals, cwrice88@msn.com

Judge Robert Rusu, Mahoning Co. Common Pleas, Rusu4@zoominternet.net

Judge Julie R. Selmon, Monroe Co. Common Pleas, judgeselmon@sbcglobal.net

Judge Matt C. Staley, Allen Co. Domestic Relations, mattstaley@hotmail.com

Judge Jason Yoss, Monroe Co. Court, jayoss91@gmail.com

Click here to learn more about JAG. All inquiries are CONFIDENTIAL.

Contact the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program directly and confidentially at www.ohiolap.org, bendslow@ohiolap.org or (800) 348-4343.