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Rena Shak

For Judge of the Franklin County Municipal Court
Full Term Beginning 1/4/2022

Candidate Details

  • Residence
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Age
  • Occupation
    Attorney at the Franklin County Public Defender Office
  • Education
    B.A. from The Ohio State University, J.D. from Capital University Law School
  • Work Experience
    Criminal Defense since 2013
  • Family
    Married with a toddler son
  • Affiliations
    YES! Columbus (Dress for Success Affiliate), Columbus Bar Association, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, Franklin County Democratic Lawyers Club, Progress Hilliard
  • Endorsements
    The Columbus Firefighters Union Local 67, the AFL-CIO Central Ohio Labor Council, AFSCME Ohio Power in Action, CWA Local 4502, Baptist Ministerial Alliance of Columbus and Vicinity, Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, Run For Something, Vote Mama, Franklin County Young Democrats, Franklin County Adelante Democrats, Columbus Education Association Teachers for Better Schools. Central Ohio Association for Justice- “Highly Recommended.”
  • Bar Association Ratings
    Columbus Bar Association 4 Stars (2021)

Question 1

List your judicial experience (courts and years)

This is my first judicial campaign. I am a career trial attorney.

Question 2

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

I have the experience needed to handle the most sensitive and complex of legal cases. I have represented clients with charges ranging from traffic offenses to aggravated murder. I have an in-depth understanding of the Rules of Evidence, having conducted trials and motion hearings on misdemeanors and felonies. I also have had the unique experience of working with all facets of the court, including judges, victims and defendants, prosecutors and the defense bar, civil litigants, corrections personnel, and law enforcement. Not only do I have the courtroom experience, but I have also had the great privilege to directly serve the people of Franklin County throughout my career. To date, I have worked with people from every walk of life. I have also worked with diversionary and rehabilitative programming through the specialty dockets, probation, and outside resources. The Franklin County Municipal Court is truly the “people's court”. I believe that every person should be treated with fairness in a court of law regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or religion. I have spent my career making sure that the constitutional rights of the people of Franklin County are protected and have worked tirelessly to create equity in the courtroom. I believe that my vast experience can be used to serve the public on a greater level, granting access to justice for all.

Question 3

Why are you running for this particular court seat?

I spend my days representing society's most vulnerable and underserved communities. Along with representation in their legal matters, I have dedicated my career to helping the public access rehabilitative resources in hopes of avoiding incarceration and further court contact. I search out addiction treatment services, mental health counseling or crisis care, employment, housing, clothing, education, and transportation for the public. Without access to these critical resources, we often see the same individuals cycling through the courts. I am excited to be running in a time where more focus is being placed on sentencing efforts to rehabilitate and stabilize in order to create more productive members of society rather than simply punitively sentence. I am running because this is an opportunity for me to affect greater change in the justice system. I have spent my career advocating for equal justice on behalf of all. I have lived every aspect of that pursuit, experienced every type of judicial temperament, and worked on every type of criminal case. In that time, the wealth of knowledge I have gained has led me to want to take my pursuit of equity in the courts to the bench. As a judge, I will make sure that every person has access to a fair judicial system. One that is built to seek truth and justice. One of kindness, respect, and fairness for all involved. I believe that the people of Franklin County deserve that, and I am dedicated to providing it to them.