Visit the Archive

Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Toledo Legal News - News Son of a Coal Miner becomes Councilman, Asst Prosecutor, Municipal Court Judge

 

photo of Judge C. Allen McConnellSon of a Coal Miner becomes Councilman, Asst Prosecutor, Municipal Court Judge

By Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News

C. Allen McConnell reclines back in his chair and surveys his wood paneled office. He has the contented smile of a man who has, in every sense of the term, made it. An educated, community focused man with a loving wife, two happy children (successful in their own rights), a job he is passionate about and time enough to play a game of golf now and then, Judge McConnell has come a long way from being raised in a company town in West Virginia where his father and brothers mined coal.

Judge McConnell's father moved his family to West Virginia in search of work a year before he was born. “My father was a minister and a coal miner. He moved to West Virginia because work was available. There was no discrimination there. If you wanted to go down the mine you could. It didn't matter what you looked like.”

The youngest son of a family with seven children, Judge McConnell grew up in West Virginia until his family moved to White Plains, New York when he was 14. He attended high school in New York and earned money working as golf caddie and stock boy at a grocery store.

When it came time for Judge McConnell to attend college, he chose Bluefield State College in West Virginia. “Neither of my folks had beyond a sixth grade education and three of my brothers followed my father into the coal mines. My parents did not want that for me. So they pushed me academically. And since they still owned land in West Virginia and my brothers were still living there, it only made sense for me to go to school back in West Virginia.”

Despite his desire to go into law, McConnell began his college education majoring in business with plans to teach after graduating. “My plans were to go to law school but during that era, as an African-American, you needed to find a place where you could get a job. And what were readily available were teaching positions.”

While the Judge's decision to major in business would impact his future, something even more important happened to him on his first day at Bluefield's campus. While finding his way around the unfamiliar residence halls and classrooms, the young Allen McConnell first laid eyes on a woman named Tempie, his wife-to-be. “She decided that I was not the kind of guy she wanted to get married to, but I changed her mind about that.”

When they graduated, Judge McConnell began looking into law schools while his wife set about looking for teaching jobs. “My wife started writing every city in the Midwest for a job. Toledo answered first, they needed a business teacher at Woodward High School. So I scraped law school and got on the next plane and accepted that job. If Columbus had answered first, I probably would have ended up there.”

Now settled in Toledo, Judge McConnell began teaching business in 1966 and stayed with it through 1968. “Those two years were one of my greatest experiences, teaching young people and trying to help them find their way in life was very rewarding.” However, as the 1960's came to a close, Judge McConnell finally felt financially secure enough to being attending the University of Toledo's Law School. His wife was working as an educator and he got a job as a financial administrator at an oil company which, “was a good job for the times, it got me through law school.”

After obtaining his J.D. in 1972, McConnell began working as an Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor, a position he held until 1979 when he decided to focus all of his energies on private practice.

As much as the Judge enjoyed his legal practice, he found another outlet for his energies in the form of local politics. “I became a city council member in 1995, which was an extension of my interest in law. It was the development of the Civil Rights Movement that made sparked my interest in law. I protested a little in college and I realized that someone had to know what the law was and how it operated and what could and could not be done. So as an attorney I knew about a lot of the complaints in the community and I had pursued the city council to change certain things. Eventually I felt it would be easier to get things done on the other side of the table.”

Although he left the council in 1999, Judge McConnell stayed active in the community, mostly through his church, the First Church of God. “The Church and I have been involved in a multitude of community projects. Some have been very successful, others have not. Everything we have undertaken has been to help people bring about a better lifestyle.”

In 2001 Judge McConnell was approached about running for the Municipal seat left empty when Judge Weir retired. Seizing the opportunity, McConnell ran and won. He was re-elected in 2005.

“My passion as a judge is housing. The situation that I'm seeing in Toledo is at an all time low. It's amazing to me. When I grew up in West Virginia, the housing was all provided for the mine workers, so to be in Toledo where the elderly are being charged criminally for not being able to afford repairs is horrible. We're not giving up though, we're doing what we can to help people. I'm passionate about this because I believe what Luke said in the Bible is true: To whom much is given, much is required.”

By Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News

Getting more movement throughout the day

(StatePoint) Working or learning from home? It’s more important than ever to ensure you move throughout the day. Doing so will help keep your mind and body healthy and agile. Here are a few tips to move more throughout the day.

Date Published: April 14, 2021

Know the facts about orphaned and injured wildlife

A baby bird has tumbled from its nest. A young white-tailed deer is discovered at the base of a tree. A nest of immature rabbits calls a suburban yard home. These are all common situations Ohioans experience when wildlife reproduction peaks in the spring, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Each situation has a natural solution, and professional intervention should remain a last resort.

Date Published: April 14, 2021

OCC announced as finalist for national Awards of Excellence

Owens Community College has been named a finalist in two categories – Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership and Students Success – for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2021 Awards of Excellence. The national awards recognize exceptional work among the nation’s two-year colleges.

Date Published: April 13, 2021

Tree planting for today and the future

Ohio is now at the start of prime tree planting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry. Tree roots begin to lengthen as the buds break in the spring when soil moisture is typically the highest. This allows the growing roots to move through the soil to find water and nutrients needed for the tree to grow in its new home.

Date Published: April 13, 2021

Trooper’s right to act on shout of ‘that lady is drunk’ contested

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 30th, heard four oral arguments, including one regarding the rights of a state trooper whose follow up to a citizen’s call to action resulted in a motorist’s arrest for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OVI.)

Date Published: April 13, 2021

ODJFS addressing racial inequity in children services system

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is taking immediate steps in response to a report released recently that found racial inequity in the state’s children services system. Those steps include launching a new approach to recruiting, retaining, and racial equity training for children services caseworkers via virtual reality headsets to help them be mindful of possible implicit racial bias in their decisions affecting children.

Date Published: April 12, 2021

3 ways to help your loved one age in place

(BPT) In what seemed like an instant, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. In addition to completely changing the way we work, shop and interact with others - just to name a few - it's also forcing seniors to rethink their living arrangements and plans for the future, and changing the way we care for our elderly parents.

Date Published: April 9, 2021

Here's why you should consider seeing a geriatrician

(BPT) It comes as second nature for most parents to take their children to a pediatrician at least once a year. The differences between children and adults are so stark that it makes sense to choose a doctor specially trained to treat younger patients.

Date Published: April 8, 2021

Lawmakers want to add safety fee to fireworks purchases

Since the country’s bicentennial, Americans’ consumption of fireworks has skyrocketed 777 percent to a hefty 254.4 million pounds in 2017, a state lawmaker told committee members in the Ohio House of Representatives last week.