2021 Election: Judge of Eaton Municipal Court

The following candidates are running in the upcoming Nov. 2 general election for Judge of Eaton Municipal Court (one opening), with the term commencing Jan. 1, 2022.



Erica Gordon

Occupation: Preble County Common Pleas Court Magistrate.

Past Political Positions Held: none.

Education: Hiram College, B.A. Cum Laude in Philosophy, minor Political Science; Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College Law, Juris Doctorate with Distinction; Editor in Chief, Law Review 2003-2004.

Community Involvement: Past Board Member of Sisters in Shelter, a non-profit organization, providing case management services to survivors of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, as well as educating the community on the prevalence of these social issues. Past President of the Tiffin Optimist Club. Sponsor for the Second Annual Caleb Belongia Memorial Golf Outing.

As the mother of a busy three year old, I am looking forward to making a difference in Preble County through volunteer opportunities and showing her the value of giving back to our community.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

I am in my 13th year as a Magistrate deciding some of the most difficult cases courts decide, including child custody, divorces, child support, domestic violence civil protection orders, and civil stalking protection orders. I treat every litigant with respect and give them the opportunity to present their evidence and testimony.

In addition to 13 years as a Magistrate, I served three years as an Acting Judge in the Tiffin Fostoria Municipal Court. As an Acting Judge, I presided over trials, arraignments, criminal sentencing, evictions, small claims, and the civil docket. I served as an Acting Judge every other week and routinely covered the court when the Judge was on vacation or at a conference. I also reviewed requests for search warrants for the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Tiffin Police Department, Fostoria Police Department, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The Code of Judicial Conduct requires Judges to uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. My career is focused on complying with the Code of Judicial Conduct and understanding how the public’s perception of Judges requires Judges to conduct their personal and extrajudicial activities so as to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

First and foremost, criminal defendants need to know that they will be held accountable for committing crimes. Too often, defendants come through the court and they are sentenced to a term of non-reporting probation. When defendants are not required to maintain contact with a probation officer, there is no incentive for them to abide by the terms and conditions imposed as part of their sentence.

In addition to holding defendants accountable, criminal sentences need to include referrals to drug counseling professionals, mental health professionals, and domestic violence programs where appropriate. Referrals to the above-mentioned programs are aimed at addressing the cause of the anti-social or criminal behavior that defendants are exhibiting. When the court collaborates with community partners to order assessments and treatment, and the court requires defendants to check in with a probation officer, we are creating accountability while working to make the Preble County safer by addressing the cause of the defendants’ behavior.

If elected, what would be your chief priorities?

The chief priority is making sure that our community partners know how important their work is in addressing the behaviors criminal defendants are exhibiting. Our community partners need to know that the court trusts them to make a difference. The court can assure our partners of that trust by making referrals and maintaining open lines of communication to discuss issues with clients or programming.

I want to make sure individuals who are drug addicted, experiencing mental health issues, or domestic violence are getting into programs with our community partners to address the issues they are experiencing. The court can hold the offenders accountable, but seek to change their behavior.

Any additional comments?

Judges are elected to six-year terms. Please remember to vote on Nov. 2, or by requesting an absentee ballot from the Board of Elections.


H. Steven Hobbs

Occupation: Attorney for 37 years.

Past Political Positions Held: Prosecutor for Village of Verona (Preble County and Montgomery Counties), 1985-1987; Village Attorney for Village of Verona, 1985- 2018; Village Attorney for Village of New Paris, 1996-1997; and Village Attorney for Village of West Manchester, 1991-present.

Education: High School – Twin Valley North, 1976; Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice University of Dayton, 1980; Law Degree University of Dayton School of Law, 1983.

Community Involvement: Volunteer Firefighter/Paramedic Lewisburg Fire and EMS; Past Member Board of Trustees Rural Legal Aid Society of West Central Ohio; Past President of the Board of Trustees Rural Legal Aid Society, Member of Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce; Past President Lewisburg Chamber of Commerce. For a period in excess of three years I provided legal services to indigent clients from the Court’s appointments list without charge to the court or the individuals involved.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for the position?

Experience: I have been a trial lawyer practicing in Courts throughout the State of Ohio for 37 years. I have seen each court that I have practiced in and that court’s approach to resolving issues and improving service. This diversity of experience, while having a regular and consistent civil and criminal practice in the Eaton Municipal Court makes me uniquely qualified to draw on the experience of other Judges while having an appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of the Eaton Municipal Court and the manner of things as done in Preble County. I have heard cases filling in as Magistrate in the Miamisburg Municipal Court.

Preparation: I have met with the Eaton City Manager and Eaton Director of Finance to look at the budget. I have spoken to court staff, observed their functions and have familiarity with what their job entails. I have heard cases filling in as a Magistrate in Miamisburg Municipal Court. I have researched grant funding by speaking with the Supreme Court of Ohio, The Ohio Judicial College, The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and other judges regarding grants.

Personal Traits: I am knowledgeable in the law. I am fair and impartial. I am politically independent and not attached to a particular group that would impact my fairness and impartiality to the common man or woman. I am professional and have a good judicial temperament. I am not prone to anger or rage. I am of good character, have the courage to do the right thing, and I have integrity. I am a hardworking individual. I will follow the law.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

The three most crucial issues facing the court are customer service, criminal defendants’ accountability and the budget constraints facing the court. Currently, the court must rely upon a sum in excess of $300,000 annually from the City of Eaton’s general fund to make ends meet. In other words, the court brings in $300,000 less than its operations cost. Further, the vast majority of criminal defendants do not participate in supervised probation.

Customer service is always a priority. The public is the Court’s customers and all deserve to be treated with respect. As judge, I would reallocate the existing personnel in such a manner that the Probation Officer would primarily be responsible for supervising those defendants on probation and nothing else. Folks on probation would be required to report to the Probation Officer. Having Defendants report regularly would help in collecting fines and court costs that are currently not able to be collected.

I would make use of community service; have a representative from various community treatment programs at court on criminal docket day to more fully make use of those resources; reduce the number of pretrials each case has to reduce staff handling the same files six or seven times and have an in court criminal docket. I would use jail for those offenders who are violent or unwilling to change their anti-social behavior.

If elected, what would be your chief priorities?

Improving customer service. Having reporting probation using all of the community resources available to make convicted criminal defendants accountable. Pass the costs of the court to the users of the court. Collaborate with the other Preble County Courts to identify trends in criminal activity and to more fully address those individuals involved with more than one court. Eaton Municipal Court is primarily a misdemeanor court and we must use our resources to protect the public and modify behavior before individuals graduate to felony crimes.

Any Additional Comments?

I look forward to the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and get to work at the court if given the opportunity to do so by the voters. It would be an honor to continue my public service to the community at the court.


Edmund H. Kalil

Occupation: Attorney.

Past Political Positions Held: Republican Central Committee Representative for Lanier NW for three terms.

Education: B.A. – Magna Cum Laude – Niagara University – 1985; JD – University of Dayton Law School – 1988.

Community Involvement: Board of the Preble County Mental Health Board and Chamber of Commerce; 26 continuous years as a member of the Sons of American Legion Squadron 0322 of West Alexandria; 15 seasons as a SAY soccer coach and four seasons on the SAY Board; four seasons as announcer for the Twin Valley South girls soccer team; Eagle Scout and 10 years as a Scout leader for both Pack and Troop 78 of Eaton, a position I still hold; volunteer shooting sports instructor and NRA Range Safety Officer for Cub and Boy Scouts; Life member of the BRA and CCW Instructor; President of the Preble County Bar Association for two terms; and volunteer at the Thanksgiving Day even held at the Preble County Fairgrounds.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

I have practiced in the Eaton Municipal Court as an assistant county prosecutor, as well as an acting prosecutor for the City of Eaton, Village of West Alexandria and Camden, handling both criminal and traffic cases.

As a private attorney within my general practice, I have practiced in the Eaton Municipal Court handling criminal and traffic cases, as well as civil cases, including evictions and small claims.

I have also been an Acting Judge for the Eaton Municipal on several occasions, as well as the Acting Magistrate for this court.

I have over 30 years of experience operating a small business in Preble County. This includes successfully practicing extensively in this court as an assistant prosecuting attorney, acting assistant prosecutor, defense attorney as well as acting magistrate and acting judge, all of which have prepared me to become the Judge of the Eaton Municipal Court.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

There are several issues that need attention.

The court needs to focus on the drug epidemic by utilizing the services provided by Recovery & Wellness and Next Step Living. These are Preble County based residence facilities that are not funded by Preble County. I look at this as an alternative for incarceration for those with drug and alcohol addiction. Recovery and Wellness offers individual and group counseling, as well as locating inpatient services. Next Step Living will then act as a “half-way” house to integrate their residents, who have transitioned from inpatient, back into society by providing housing and assistance in locating employment. Both agencies will assists their clients in obtaining a medical card. This will decrease jail population and ease the burden on taxpayers.

The probation department will be given more “teeth.” It needs to enforce the terms of probation for those on probation. Probationers should actually report, at least monthly, and be subjected to random drug screens and use electronic monitoring. The court currently possesses these tools, they just need to be used.

The court will have a driver’s license clinic. This would be a mandatory program to educate those without a valid license as to why their license is not valid and how they may correct these problems.

I would also offer a traffic safety program for persons in point trouble with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Lately, the court has the software in place to accept electronic, or paperless, filings. This should be initiated along with electronic transfer of files from each law enforcement department. This should be done as soon as possible in order to save staff time and resources.

In order for all of the above to transpire, the court will be operating from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with all personnel present. I would, as judge, pronounce sentences for all bailable offenses from the bench, not at the payment counter by a staff member. I will also ensure that all victims will have the opportunity to be present in the courtroom during sentencing of the offender, as well as the opportunity to make a statement.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your chief priorities?

All of the above are priorities and need to be initiated as soon as possible.

R-H Staff