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Toledo Legal News - News From Vista to Juvenile Court Judge, Denise Navarre-Cubbon is still helping people


photo of Judge Denise Navarre-CubbonToday, Vista may just be another operating system, but to Judge Denise Navarre-Cubbon, Vista was a life changing experience. “Vista,” said Judge Navarre-Cubbon, sitting with ease at the head of a table in a jury conference room in Juvenile Justice Center, “stands for Volunteers in Service to America, it was like the Peacecorp, but focused on domestic issues.” Joining Vista after she finished her undergraduate career at American University, where she majored in anthropology, Navarre-Cubbon spent time in Southern Texas setting up community outreach programs for migrant workers. In the summer months she would follow the workers up to Indiana and worked through the Head-Start program. “There were towns in Texas that literally closed-up during the summer months because all of the migrants would travel North. It was very interesting work, very rewarding. And it was because of that experience that I decided to go to law school.”

Not that it was the first time she had thought about becoming a lawyer. “When I was still in college, my parents decided that I should go to law school, but I didn’t think I wanted to do that. I had other things I wanted to do with my life. But, my parents sent me money to take the LSAT’s just for the heck of it.” Looking back on it now that she has children of her own, Navarre-Cubbon sees now how her parents could have understood her better than she did herself, but as a college student she sure didn’t feel that way. “I was young and thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life. So I took that money my parents sent me to take the LSAT with and I went shopping.” Judge Navarre-Cubbon cracks a satisfied smile. “Of course, I had to eat a bit of crow two years later when I decided to become a lawyer after all.”

While her parents may have pointed her down the path, it was the Vista program, and working with the migrant workers that made up Navarre-Cubbon’s mind about studying law. “I’ve always been interested in politics. That’s why I went to American University in Washington D.C. I mean, if you like politics, what better place is there? During my time with Vista, I discovered how politics and government can be used to help people, how the law can give back to communities.”

After her time with Vista, Judge Navarre-Cubbon returned home to Toledo, where she and her nine siblings had been raised, to attend law school at UT. Building on her community enrichment experience, she worked for the North Toledo Area Corporation as a community organizer before beginning her law school classes. During her time at UT, Navarre-Cubbon left the NTAC to work more “traditional” law school jobs such as clerking for established lawyers.

Upon graduating from UT, Judge Navarre-Cubbon was hired by Tony Pizza as an assistant Lucas county prosecutor within the Juvenile division. There, she would eventually become a supervisor until she was elected into office as Lucas County’s Common Pleas, Juvenile Division Judge, and is now the Administrative Judge. It’s a position that keeps her busy to be sure, but she still finds the time to stay active in the Toledo community. Judge Navarre-Cubbon has been active over the years with the Toledo Ballet Association, she has been on the committee of Read for Literacy and has been involved with the Police Athletics League.

Those groups, along with her involvement in a number of professional associations and the increased workload that comes with being the administrative judge of the Juvenile Division more than keeps Navarre-Cubbon’s days packed. When she does find time to relax though, Navarre-Cubbon thinks there’s nothing better than spending time with her friends and family. “I’m a Toledo native. I grew up in the Old Orchard neighborhood. I’ve lived here pretty much all my life. I come from a family of 10 children and my husband, Stuart is the middle child of nine. We ourselves have four children. So, when I say that I spend a lot of time with my family and my friends, I mean it!”

Family is an integral part of life for Toledo’s chief juvenile court judge. Her family has shaped the way Judge Navarre-Cubbon sees the world. She learned the values of hard work and responsibility from her parents. “I was the third child out of ten, so you can imagine how much babysitting I had to do. Especially when my mother was pregnant with her sixth child and my father was gone a year in New York learning how to be a cardiovascular surgeon.” After her father, Dr Peter Navarre, returned from New York (and became Northwest Toledo’s first vascular surgeon), Navarre-Cubbon’s parents sent her to St. Ursula Academy which stressed the importance of volunteer efforts, an emphasis which would go on to direct the course of her life.

“I was really lucky to have a great childhood and great parents. I’m not saying it was perfect, we had our issues like all families. And I appreciate that so much that when I have children and families appearing before me ever day, I just so want them to have a fulfilling life and childhood just like I did. And I don’t think that’s asking so much. If we can provide those services to the families and make those changes to the kids lives, then they’ll be great parents and have great kids and that’s a great goal for everyone.”

Michael A. Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

James R. Carnes inducted as Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP is pleased to announce that James R. Carnes, partner in the Toledo office, has been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), one of the premier legal associations in North America. The induction ceremony took place before an audience of 850 at the College’s annual meeting, held in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

Date Published: October 22, 2018

Lawyer sentenced for filing false tax returns

Scott W. Atway, 44, of Powell, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 12 months and one day in prison, four months of community confinement and eight months of house arrest for filing a false tax return. Atway was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $600,000.

Date Published: October 22, 2018

Put-in-Bay Village officials indicted

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney James VanEerten, and the Ohio Ethics Commission recently announced that two Village of Put-in-Bay officials have been indicted by an Ottawa County Grand Jury on public corruption charges stemming from a joint probe into public corruption allegations within the village. Misdemeanor charges were also recently filed against two other current and former village officials pursuant to this joint investigation.

Date Published: October 22, 2018

Supreme Court of Ohio rejects as moot a challenge to power company’s prior rate plan

The Ohio Supreme Court recently ended a legal challenge to Dayton Power & Light’s (DP&L) prior electricity rate plan because a new rate plan is now in effect. Challengers to the rate plan claimed the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) allowed the company to retain $285 million in payments that the Supreme Court ordered to be returned.

Date Published: October 22, 2018

Public universities, colleges would like help with Clery reporting, Auditor’s survey finds

Ohio’s public universities and colleges face a number of challenges in fulfilling the federal mandate to report campus crime statistics and detail campus security policy and procedures, according to a survey of these institutions conducted by Auditor of State Dave Yost. The survey makes clear that universities and colleges would welcome help from the state in fulfilling their obligations under the law known as the Clery Act.

Date Published: October 19, 2018

Senate takes up student religious liberties bill

A Senate committee is expected to mull a bill intended to allow school students who wish to meet for religious expression the same access to school facilities as other student groups.

Date Published: October 19, 2018

Toledo finishes two strokes shy of MAC Preview title

University of Toledo senior Natcha Daengpiem captured her first collegiate tournament title on Monday after posting a career-best four-under par 212 (71-66-75) at the MAC Preview. Daengpiem's performance propelled the Rockets to a second-place showing in the team standings as UT finished just two strokes behind champion Xavier at 21-over par 885.

Date Published: October 19, 2018

Police search that uncovered marijuana-infused candy legal

A traffic stop of a vehicle led to discovery of sealed envelopes containing 150 individually wrapped marijuana-infused candies by a Cleveland State University police officer. The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled the search was legal and the evidence can be used in connection with drug trafficking and other offenses.

Date Published: October 18, 2018

UT swimming and diving opens season Friday with tri-meet

The Toledo women's swimming and diving team opens its season this Friday with a tri-meet against Findlay and Indianapolis. The meet starts at 5:00 p.m. at the University of Toledo Student Rec Center and will be televised live on ESPN3.

Date Published: October 18, 2018

5 common behaviors that could be hurting your eyes

(BPT) If you're like many Americans, you're diligent about maintaining your health by eating right, exercising and regularly seeing your doctor. But even the most health-conscious people are often unaware of daily behaviors in their lives that could be straining or even damaging their eyes. That's surprising, given that 21 percent of Americans believe severe vision loss would negatively impact the quality of their lives.

Date Published: October 17, 2018

Rockets rally but fall at EMU, 28-26

Toledo nearly came back from a 25-point deficit at Eastern Michigan, but the Rockets' furious rally came up just short in a 28-26 loss to the Eagles at Rynearson Stadium on Saturday.