Toledo Legal News - News Judge Connelly helping vets get out of the system, into care

 

photo of Judge Connelly"I'm exploring bringing a new specialized docket to the court. I'm very interested in bringing a veterans court to the Toledo Municipal Court." Judge William Connelly, Jr., first elected to the Toledo Municipal Court in 2009 is concerned about America's veterans. "Veterans have some specialized needs and also some specific resources that the general public doesn't. The goal is to identify veterans early on in the process. It may not change the ultimate disposition of the case, but if they're found guilty we may be able to get them services they need."

Establishing a veterans court, which takes a lot of work, paper work on the subject in stacks a foot high crowds Judge Connelly's desk. If he wants to get first-hand experience he has to travel three and a half hours to Youngstown just to observe an operating Veterans Court. But hard work isn't something that intimidates the Judge. He's a man used to working hard and going the extra mile.

Born and raised in Toledo, Judge Connelly started working as a high school student at St. John's. He worked as a clerk at a convenience store, loaded skids at a distribution warehouse, oversaw T-ball games at a city park and even managed a six unit apartment building.

After graduating in 1984, Connelly began his college career as a Buckeye at Ohio State University and finished as a Rocket law student at the University of Toledo. Returning to Toledo to earn his Juris Doctor was a natural decision for the Judge, "My family lived in Toledo and we all became lawyers. My mother and father were both lawyers. I have three sisters. All three graduated from law school. Two of them are currently attorneys and they're both married to attorneys. My wife Kerri is a staff attorney for Judge Yarbrough. Apparently there's no other skill set in the family." Judge Connelly's children, a four year old daughter and a two year old son, are the only members of his family who aren't, yet, lawyers.

As a newly minted attorney, Judge Connelly began working at the Ohio Department of Transportation. In time he left ODOT to work for then-state Senator Betty Montgomery. Judge Connelly followed her when Montgomery was elected as Ohio's Attorney General in 1995. He would eventually strike out on his own and practice as a defense attorney for several years before ultimately becoming an assistant prosecutor for Wood County in 2005. Four years later Judge Connelly was to fulfill the seat left vacant by retiring Municipal Judge Lynn Schaefer.

Connelly has been serving as a judge for over two years now and has found himself in the enviable position of looking forward to work each morning. "This is the first job I've had that I've absolutely loved. It used to be, if I ever won the lottery I'd say, 'see you later'. Today if I won I'd say, 'see you tomorrow.'"

Judge Connelly enjoys the variety that comes with being a Municipal Court judge, and the freedom. Unlike felony judges, Municipal judges don't lose control of the defendant after sentencing. I can send them out and bring them back, so I can keep track on people and watch their progress. I get letters from defendants letting me know how they're doing. I'm in contact with CCNO (Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio) to monitor people and I schedule reviews accordingly."

Although it requires more effort and work than simply handing down a verdict and moving on, Judge Connelly knows that putting in the extra time to see to it that a defendant is receiving the treatment they need. "It's worth it, it pays off. I just received a letter from a woman who appeared before me. At the time she had troubles with drugs and crime. I sentenced her, I worked with her, she got help through some programs and now she's clean, working and doing well. You know, the law is a fantastic field, but you shouldn't go into it thinking you'll make a lot of money. You should go into it if you're passionate."

That desire, and ability, to effect real change in people's lives motivates Judge Connelly's drive to create a veterans court in Toledo. "Honestly, getting a veterans court may end up being something that we can't do. It may or may not be feasible. But even just going through this process has made me more aware, more knowledgeable when I have a veteran before me as a defendant. Even if the case isn't heard in a veterans court, I can still use the information to guide sentencing."

Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

Attorney sentenced for wire fraud related to $70 million Ponzi scheme

Steven Scudder, 62, of Centerville, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a fraudulent investment scheme. Scudder pleaded guilty to wire fraud on January 19, and admitted that he used his position as an attorney to facilitate the fraudulent investment scheme operated by someone else.

Date Published: June 23, 2017

Department of Higher Education announces Innovation Program Awards

The Ohio Department of Higher Education has approved $5 million in funding for projects that will enhance the quality of higher education throughout the state while making it more affordable for students by stabilizing or reducing tuition rates at colleges and universities. Schools receiving the funds designed collaborative, innovative projects that support academic achievement and economic efficiencies. The funds will be awarded for projects serving students at the community college and university levels.

Date Published: June 23, 2017

Grand jury charges landscaping company with defrauding Cincinnati, State 'small business' & 'minority business' programs

(Cincinnati) A federal grand jury has charged Evans Landscaping, Inc.; the owner of Evans Landscaping, Inc., Doug Evans, 55, of Cincinnati; and the vice president of operations for Evans Landscaping, Jim Bailey, 49, of Cincinnati, with charges related to allegedly defrauding the City of Cincinnati and other public entities through fraudulent small business and minority business contracts.

Date Published: June 23, 2017

Investigators seek tips from the public regarding Ottawa County arson

The State Fire Marshal’s Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau is seeking information relating to a fire that was intentionally set to a commercial structure that was formerly part of the historic Interurban Railway System, on Washington Street in Genoa, Ohio.

Date Published: June 23, 2017

UIC’s Tyra Carlsten-Handberg transfers to Toledo

Head Coach Tricia Cullop added to the Rockets' women's basketball roster early this month when she announced that Tyra Carlsten-Handberg will transfer to Toledo from UIC. Carlsten-Handberg will become eligible to play for UT in the 2018-19 campaign and has three years of eligibility remaining.

Date Published: June 23, 2017

Measure seeks to increase youth job opportunities

A legislative measure aimed at bolstering youth employment numbers got a first hearing recently by members of the Ohio House of Representatives seated on the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

Date Published: June 22, 2017

New IBAHRI report states nations are failing to protect people with albinism

In the last decade, across 28 countries in Africa, there have been more than 600 reported cases of killings or mutilations of persons with albinism - a rare, non-contagious, congenital condition characterised by a lack of pigmentation in any or all of the hair, skin and eyes. Under international law, countries have a legal obligation to protect persons with albinism from human rights violations, attacks and discrimination. A new report by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) concludes that current approaches to albinism have fallen short of this obligation, and persons with albinism continue to be victims of human rights abuses.

Date Published: June 22, 2017

Toledo man indicted for selling six kilograms of heroin

A Toledo man was indicted for distributing six kilograms of heroin, said David A. Sierleja, Acting U.S. States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon.

Date Published: June 22, 2017

Financial advisor sentenced for $1.1 million fraud scheme

Mark F. Speakman, 60, of Grove City, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 60 months in prison for an investment fraud scheme that defrauded his clients out of more than $1.1 million.

Date Published: June 21, 2017

Ohio’s 529 plan ranks first in nation for 5-year performance

SavingForCollege.com, a trusted college-savings industry resource, recently released their nationwide 529 direct plan performances for the first quarter of 2017. CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Plan has been ranked first overall in the nation at the five-year performance category; fourth overall in three-year performance; and third overall in 10-year performance.

Date Published: June 21, 2017

Push made to roll back Common Core

Ohio lawmakers seated on the House of Representative's Education and Career Readiness Committee got the proverbial earful from concerned citizens, policy makers and education professionals over the much maligned Common Core curriculum implemented in schools throughout the Buckeye State.

Date Published: June 21, 2017

Rockets to host volleyball camps from July 8-15

The University of Toledo is holding volleyball camps during the second week of July. The camps are designed for beginner- and advanced-level volleyball players and will cover all basic skills.

Date Published: June 21, 2017

Seniors can sell their life insurance policies

(BPT) If you're struggling to make ends meet in retirement, you're not alone. And when your income is limited and fixed, you do your best to cut out unnecessary expenses.

Date Published: June 21, 2017

Eight older Ohioans inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

The Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and members of the Ohio General Assembly honored eight accomplished older Ohioans with induction into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during a special ceremony recently in Columbus.

Date Published: June 20, 2017

Nikola Arsic to join Rockets program in 2017

Head Coach Al Wermer announced that Nikola Arsic (Brus, Serbia) will join the Toledo men's tennis program at the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

Date Published: June 20, 2017

Ohio sees greater need for CASA volunteers in face of opioid epidemic

The tentacles of Ohio’s opioid epidemic stretch beyond those in the throes of addiction. Not only do the latest statistics show that Ohio leads the nation in opioid overdose deaths, but the Public Children Services Association of Ohio notes an 11 percent increase in children in protective custody between 2000 and 2016.