Visit the Archive

Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Toledo Legal News - News Common Pleas’ Judge Linda Jennings: For Love of Family & Perseverance

 

photo of Judge Linda JenningsIn Chambers with:…Personal Profiles of Lucas County Judges

Common Pleas’ Judge Linda Jennings: For Love of Family & Perseverance

As one of Common Pleas Court’s more recent additions, Judge Linda Jennings brings a little flavor to the Court bench. That flavor comes, partially, from the gourmet food her husband, William learns to prepare from the Food Network. Some of it simmers up from the ballroom dance lessons the two of them take. A dash comes from the traveling she’s done in her life, picked up from places like Italy and New Orleans. Most of it, however, comes from her family, the one that raised her as a child and the one she created with her husband.

Linda Jennings was raised at an early age to value hard work. “My parents taught me a good work ethic,’ she says, thinking back to her childhood. It was a value that would serve her well from her first after-school job at Petries clothing store where she was paid on commission to raising her family with her husband, to going to college, and throughout her professional career.

Jennings had already started her own family with William, whom she met at a bowling alley in Toledo, when she began attending school at UT for her undergraduate degree, a bachelor’s in geology. It was as an undergrad that Jennings first began to think about becoming a lawyer, but at the time she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to go for it. “Because I had a young family, it took me a long time to get my bachelor’s degree, but then I had the opportunity and I thought, ‘well, better do it now’.” It wasn’t necessarily easy though. Even while in law school Judge Jennings continued to juggle her husband, children and working days at Ohio Bell with taking classes at night. Still, it was something she felt she had to do. “My husband will tell you that he went to law school, and then I went to get even with him, so that’s why I went.”

After obtaining her J.D., Jennings spent the next 20 years working in private practice and as a public defender. For 15 of those years she worked alongside her husband as a partner of Jennings & Jennings. During those years she specialized in criminal defense and family law. Her husband, on the other hand, was much more of a civil practice attorney; business, probate and real estate. “We had different fields but we worked together. For a while there we were in the Spitzer building, I think every attorney in Toledo is in the Spitzer building at some point or another.”

As her parents had taught her, Linda Jennings worked hard as an attorney, both in terms of quantity and quality. Ethics were always important to her. “When I gave someone my word, I kept my word. I never wanted to do anything that was unethical in any way at all.” It’s no coincidence that for a time Judge Jennings was the only woman in Lucas County certified to act as lead counsel in a death penalty case.

It’s not only in her profession that Judge Jennings’ work ethic shines through. Over the years she has been an active member of the Toledo, Ohio and American Bar Associations as well as the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association and the Lucas County Public Defender Commission. She is also a former board member of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and is proud of the organization’s battered women’s shelter and rape crisis center.

Since her home life is no less active than her work life, Judge Jennings is sure to keep busy off the clock. If she’s not ballroom dancing or traveling across the country and Europe she’s casting jewelry in gold, silver or bronze. She also studies Italian and hopes to speak it fluently. If she ever does get a quiet moment she loves to read, especially a good murder mystery. But with nine grandchildren who love to visit she can hardly find the time to sit and crack open a good book.

Judge Jennings is a recent addition to the Court and is already in love with the job. She ran for Judge Wittenberg’s seat when he retired and while running that race was appointed to Judge Zouhary’s seat after he was appointed to the Federal Court. She has since been re-elected and is serving a full term. She compares her current position with her job as a public defender and finds herself much happier on this side of the bench. “As a judge it really seems like you can make a difference, it seems like it’s so worthwhile. It seems like I can really do something for the community.”

Judge Jennings presides over a busy common pleas court and she relies on her ethics, her sense of justice and fair play to help her navigate through the many cases she hears day in, day out. “Every day we [judges] have to be fair, we have to be impartial, we have to be temperate and independent. And it’s got to be constant.” Her willingness to put in hard work and her dedication to ensuring that the law is handled in a fair and just manner make her a first-rate judge and she’s proud to serve in an institution as honorable as the court system. “We have one of the best systems in the world. And you know, it may have a little flaw here that may need to be tweaked, but I think the system is fair and it works.”

Michael Davidson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

Marion must accept limestone mining company’s annexation request

Marion County must approve National Lime & Stone Company’s request to have 224 acres of its industrial mining property annexed to the city of Marion, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today. The decision overturns a rejection of the move by the Marion County commissioners.

Date Published: November 20, 2017

Proposal aimed at reducing food waste in Ohio schools

It's been common practice in Ohio school cafeterias to throw away unopened milk and yogurt containers and packages of low-fat cheese sticks and a Cincinnati lawmaker believes its time to stop the wasteful practice.

Date Published: November 20, 2017

Proposal would reduce beekeepers' liability against damage claims

Noting bees' importance as pollinators of the fresh produce items Ohioans eat and the other crops raised throughout the Buckeye State, a lawmaker has proposed a bill that would relieve responsible beekeepers of liability against personal injury or property damage claims.

Date Published: November 17, 2017

Substitute custodian not regular school employee

A substitute custodian whose schedule is irregular with respect to days of service, hours worked, and school-building assignment is not considered a “regular nonteaching school employee” under an Ohio law that would qualify him for better wages and benefits, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled.

Date Published: November 17, 2017

UT’s Logan Woodside named Heisman contender by Heisman Trophy Trust

Senior quarterback Logan Woodside (Frankfort, KY) has been notified by the Heisman Trophy Trust that he is a "contender" for the 2017 Heisman Trophy and a candidate to be one of the finalists for the prestigious award given annually the best football player in the country.

Date Published: November 17, 2017

Bill that seeks to bolster free speech at public universities advances

Just days after the Ohio State University declined allowing white nationalist and provocateur Richard Spencer to book a speaking engagement on campus, a pair of Republican lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives offered testimony in support of their Campus Free Speech Act.

Date Published: November 16, 2017

Statewide investments to create more than $131 million in new payroll

Governor John R. Kasich recently announced the approval of assistance for 10 projects set to create 2,828 new jobs and retain 10,291 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $131 million in new payroll, and spur more than $122 million in investments across Ohio.

Date Published: November 16, 2017

UT women’s swimming & diving splits home tri-meet

The Toledo women's swimming and diving team hosted its first home meet of the season Saturday November 4, splitting a tri-meet with Ball State and Oakland. The Rockets defeated the Cardinals, 207.5-92.5, and fell to the Golden Grizzlies, 165.5-134.5.

Date Published: November 16, 2017