EATON — Common Pleas Court Magistrate Erica Gordon, who is running for the open Eaton Municipal Court Judge seat in November’s general election, spoke to the Eaton City Council about her campaign during their meeting on Monday, June 21.
Gordon previously served as a magistrate in Seneca County Common Pleas Court and acting judge in Tiffin Fostoria Municipal Court. Her duties in Seneca County Common Pleas Court were the same as those in Preble County, and included legal research and decision writing in civil cases.
“I’ve handled every single case that comes through Municipal Court,” Gordon said. “I’ve handled criminal traffic, civil eviction, small claims, arraignments, trials. I accepted pleas, I sentenced defendants.
“The reason I’m running for municipal court is I think you go into any Municipal Court in the state of Ohio, and you sit there through a day, you’re gonna see what it’s like to live in the community that that court serves,” Gordon continued. “I want to make sure that means a community that people want to live in. I want to make sure it’s community that people feel safe.”
She said she wants to become a problem-solving court, and that means working with external parties, developing case plans and focusing on outcomes. This also includes professional screenings and assessments to address the causes of criminal and antisocial behavior that comes through the court.
Some of the other initiatives put forward by Gordon include an Abusive Partner Intervention Program as well as electronic filing for the court.
“That would be something I would look at,” she said. “Again, I’m not going to do that unless it’s feasible through a grant, because I understand that Municipal Court’s budget directly affects the City of Eaton’s budget.”
Councilmember Gary Wagner asked if Gordon would need to increase staffing if she is elected, and she said she does not anticipate additional hiring beyond the current seven staff members and two probation officers.
Councilmember Brad Moore then asked about bonds Gordon might set.
“I can tell you, I’m shocked when I got here and the bond requests that I got, because I can tell you, I routinely set bonds,” Gordon said. “I hear criminal bonds when needed, and obviously I’m in Common Pleas here up there…but when I got here, I can tell you, I’d go in on an arraignment for an F2, and I’m expecting somebody who’s going to ask me for $200,000 cash bond. Never happened. I can tell you It’s never happened.”
Mayor Joe Renner, a retired Major from the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, asked if Gordon would take the prosecutor into account when issuing a bond.
“I certainly listen to the process. I think it’s invaluable,” Gordon said. “If I’m going to set a bond hearing, I want the prosecutor to lay out, ‘Here’s the charge, Your Honor, here’s the priors.’ I want to know all of that, because I think all of that needs to go into making a bond determination.”
Gordon finished by thanking council and reiterating that, if elected, she wouldn’t anticipate staffing needs or additional money in her budget from council.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles