Municipal court judge Michael Goulding, appointed to the bench in January of this year, is thrilled about his new job. He got his first taste for politics while serving as a Congressional page in the Ohio House of Representatives. He worked for then Speaker Vern Riffe, Jr and was sponsored by Bernie Quilter, Sr., the father of current Lucas County Clerk of Courts Bernie Quilter, Jr. Thinking back to his time as a page the Judge remarked, â€œthat was just a fantastic job. I really loved it.â€
As a page Michael Goulding aquired a taste for politics that has ultimately led him to become Toledoâ€™s most recent Municipal judge. When asked how heâ€™s enjoyed his 8 months so far, Goulding replied, â€œI love this job. I wish I had done this years ago. Itâ€™s better than I had hoped it would be.â€
Judge Goulding is thrilled that his new position is working out so well. He has had to work hard to get there.
â€œIâ€™ve always worked. In high school at St. Francis I played sports and then had to stop so I could work to pay for the tuition.â€
After working his way through high school, the Judge, who grew up in Toledo, began taking classes at the University of Toledo as a business student before eventually moving to Columbus to live with a friend, attend OSU and study English. â€œBusiness never really lit my fires, but Iâ€™ve always had this love for language. I took Latin in high school and I can still tell you what the declensions are. In college I took German and Spanish. So, I majored in English not so much to read the Greats but to take classes in the language department.â€
It was during his time in college that Judge Goulding served as a page in the Ohio House of Representatives.
When his time at OSU ended, the Judge returned to Toledo. He began looking for work. If his return to Toledo seems surprising after his stint in Columbus, consider just how wide reaching his personal networks are in the city. â€œI came back to Toledo because I wanted to practice there. I was raised here and my friends and family were here. Toledo gets a bad rap and thereâ€™s something of an inferiority complex about the place, â€˜Oh, weâ€™re not Chicago, weâ€™re not New Yorkâ€™. But what people take for granted is the fact that everyone knows each other, one way or another. There are connections in Toledo. When you start talking to people from Toledo, you always come to realize that, â€˜hey, I played baseball against your cousinâ€™ or â€˜I grew up two doors down from your Auntâ€™. Plus, I was the vice-president of my junior class in high school and president of the senior class I was the president of my fraternity while I was still studying business at UT so I got to know a lot of people through those activities.â€
Before long though, Goulding reconsidered his options. â€œI sort of realized that you canâ€™t do much with a B.A. in English, so I went to law school. And it turns out that my English was a good background for the law.â€
After law school Goulding began working for the law firm of Shindler, Neff, Holmes, Schlageter & Mohler, LLP. He had clerked there as a law student and was hired as an associate in 1996. Three short years later he was made a partner, a position he enjoyed until he was appointed to the Municipal Court early this year.
The Judge was probably more than a little surprised when, on January 2nd, he received a call telling him that he would be appointed to office in three days. â€œIt was really a quick transition. Here I am with a law practice I got the call telling me I had to be sworn-in by the 5th of January.â€
Judge Goulding has acclimated himself nicely however, even though he has been involved in two of the more emotionally challenging cases the Municipal Court has seen this year. â€œI had the search warrant and arraignment for the caged kids. When Detective Dressel died I had his accomplice for some misdemeanors. That was a very difficult time for everyone in the Court.â€
Goulding persevered and has been working hard to make some positive changes in the community. â€œWeâ€™re still looking into whether itâ€™s feasible or not, but a number of us are trying to start up a Mental Health Court, which would handle cases involving defendants who suffer from identifiable mental health concerns. What generally happens with people who suffer from mental disorders is they go off their medications, get arrested, spend some time in jail and are released and they go off their meds again. It becomes this big revolving door. Really though, some folks can benefit from monitored medication or group-home housing and a Mental Health Court can help with all that. Thereâ€™s a court like this in Akron that serves as a model for us, and the Nation really. Weâ€™d really like to have a court like that here.â€
Judge Goulding is also trying to, in his words, â€œResurrect, if you will, the Red Mass, a Catholic Mass that dates back to 13 century Europe. Itâ€™s an invocation of the Holy Spirit for judges, lawyers, law students, anyone in the legal community. And itâ€™s open to everybody, you donâ€™t have to be Catholic. Atheist, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Zoroastrian, everybody is welcome to it. And after the Mass, on September 13th, there will be dinner and a program. Justice Lanzinger is going to be the key note speaker.â€
The Judge has a lot on his plate certainly. So much in fact that he can hardly find time to practice the bass guitar or drums, two instruments on which he is more than proficient. â€œI used to work at a summer camp as a water ski instructor. While I was there I played in a Spinal Tap tribute band called Evil Vomit. Nowadays Iâ€™ll occasionally jam with a band made up of lawyers. Of course, I donâ€™t have a lot of time for that now.â€
His new job may be chewing up most of his free time, but Judge Goulding wouldnâ€™t have it any other way. â€œIn July I was marching in the African-American Parade when I guy came up to me and said, â€˜Hey, Judge Goulding! I was in front of you a while back for a disorderly conduct charge. You gave me a suspended sentence and put me on probation. I just wanted you to know that Iâ€™ve graduated from Owens and Iâ€™m starting my own business.â€™ Well, that just made my day, as a matter of fact, Iâ€™m getting a smile just thinking about it right now. Now, thatâ€™s not an every day occurrence and thatâ€™s not every defendant. But thereâ€™s still a lot you can do to help people who get in trouble. They need to learn their lesson, but there are things we can do to help if theyâ€™ve got drug problems or mental health issues. Thereâ€™s just so much you can do in this position.â€
Itâ€™s that knowledge that keeps Judge Goulding returning day after day to his office. â€œThis is not just a political position. This is a serious job with serious cases. And I am honored to hold it, to wear the robe. Iâ€™m honored that sometimes what we do here affects people and they turn out well.â€
Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer
As a general rule of thumb, important people are not necessarily kind people. The combination of ambition and drive that it takes to make men and women great does not always leave room for amiability and sincerity. What makes Perrysburg Municipal Court Judge Dwight Osterud so appealing is the way in which he has succeeded in life while maintaining an air of quiet humility and genuine concern for others.