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Sara Fagnilli

For Judge of the Lakewood Municipal Court
Full Term Beginning 1/1/2022

Candidate Details

  • Residence
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Age
  • Occupation
    Prosecutor - City of Hudson, Prosecutor - City of Vermilion, Asst. Law Director/Prosecutor - City of Streetsboro
  • Education

    JD - The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

  • Work Experience

    35 years practicing law as a prosecutor, law director and attorney in private practice areas of municipal law, labor and employment and trial work in federal, state, and municipal courts.

  • Family
    Married to David; children Catherine, Joseph, and Vincent
  • Affiliations

    American Bar Association - 2010 to 2018 • Ohio State Bar Association- 1985 to present • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (and its two predecessors) • Ohio Women's Bar Association - 2018 to 2020 • Northeast Ohio Prosecutor's Association - 2018 to 2020 • Westshore Bar Association - 2010- present (est. date) • Cleveland-Marshall Alumni Association - 2021 to present • Cuyahoga County Law Directors Association President 2000-2001, (nka) Northeast Ohio Law Director's Association member 1996 to present • Justinian Forum - 2010 to present (est. dates) • Lakewood Kiwanis - 2019 to present • Lakewood Rocky River Rotary - 2019 to present • Lakewood Chamber of Commerce - 2019 to present • Lakewood Women's Club Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus - 2020 to present • Lakewood Democratic Club - 1993-1996 • Lakewood Catholic Academy President Search Committee 2014 • Board Member, Fill This House, 2014-2015 Member, • St. Luke's Parish Co-Chair, 2001 Annual School Auction • Junior Women's Club of Lakewood - 1990-2000 (est. dates) • Lakewood Charter Review Commission, Chair 1995 • Citizens Advisory Commission, Community Development Block Grant Program 1993 to 1995

  • Endorsements

    The Plain Dealer/

  • Bar Association Ratings

    Judge4Yourself: Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association - Excellent, Ohio Women's Bar Association - Excellent, Norman S. Minor Bar Association - Good, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association - Good, Asian American Bar Association of Ohio = Good. 2021

Question 1

List your judicial experience (courts and years)

I have not previously held a judicial position, nor have I sought any elected office.

Question 2

What non-judicial legal experience qualifies you to be a judge?

My current practice includes work as a municipal prosecutor for the City of Hudson, City of Streetsboro, and the City of Vermilion handling municipal court cases on a daily basis in three different municipal courts. I work as an assistant law director for the City of Streetsboro handling civil matters including litigation, employment matters, labor negotiations, planning and land use matters. I have practiced in municipal courts throughout Northeast Ohio, as a municipal prosecutor, defense attorney, and attorney in private practice representing more than 25 governmental entities, including the City of Lakewood. What that means is that there is not a case that will be filed in the Lakewood Municipal Court that I have not handled, likely on both sides of any given issue. That is unparalleled experience that will serve the community well. My practice at this level has included hundreds of cases in courts in counties in Northeast Ohio; covering numerous areas of law including criminal law and civil matters representing individual, business, public entities, and worked with victims and witnesses. I have handled cases in several Ohio Courts of Appeals regarding municipal law issues, contract claims, criminal matters and cases in the Ohio Supreme Court. My practice throughout the years includes multiple cases in Federal Court (and Federal Court of Appeals) regarding Section 1983 claims against municipal clients, land use matters, and contract issues. trial experienced is unmatched in both criminal and civil law. The breadth and depth of my legal experience make me the best choice.

Question 3

Why are you running for this particular court seat?

I am running to be the Lakewood Municipal Court Judge, to return and work in the community that has been my home for 36 years. I was given the privilege of working for the City of Lakewood as its Law Director, and Special Prosecutor, along with community board roles that directly impacted both city government, and more importantly, the lives of the residents. I have spent a significant portion of my career working in municipal court and in municipal law in preparation for the position of Municipal Court Judge. Working in all level of courts across Northeast Ohio during the course of my career, I have developed a base of legal knowledge and experience that will allow me to begin working as the Judge with no appreciable learning curve. I have spent significant time in the last ten years, by choice, working in municipal court, both for the betterment of the communities I work for, and to prepare for the opportunity the serve the City of Lakewood as the municipal court judge. The depth and breadth of my legal experience, and my record of community service, give me to the best qualifications and opportunity to serve the community and share that experience for its betterment. I know the impact a judge's decision has on clients, on people who participate in the justice system . I have remained currently on the ever-changing law, particularly in the criminal arena, and possess up to date knowledge.