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Don  Roberts

Don Roberts

For Judge of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations/Juvenile Division
Full Term Beginning 1/5/2023

Candidate Details

  • Residence
  • Email
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Education

    The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law

    The University of Cincinnati, BS (Criminal Justice); AAB (Legal Assist/Paralegal)

  • Work Experience

    I have experience in maybe the most unconventional path to the bench that I know. In high school, I literally dug ditches and worked as a janitor of an elementary school.  I enlisted in the US Air Force and learned discipline, responsibility, pride in a job well done and immense respect for veterans and the value of the service they offer us. 

    After the military, I actually managed a Waffle House restaurant while waiting for my position on the police force to open up.  There, I learned teamwork on a level never experienced before! As a police officer I came to understand domestic violence, its complexity and the inability of law enforcement to do more than offer a temporary band-aid to this problem. That led me to go back to school and pursue my law degree.  While chasing that dream, I worked construction, loaded freight planes in the night, and worked as a bouncer for a night club as I worked my way through my undergraduate education.  I also worked in the early morning hours as an investigator/paralegal, interviewing recently incarcerated inmates for their assignment to a public defender. I became a bailiff for a municipal court judge who heard cases of domestic violence which furthered my passion to practice family law. I moved to Franklin County to attend law school and worked part-time at night at the Clerk of Courts and paid internships. Upon graduation, I took a position with Lexis Nexis where I sharpened my skills as a research associate.  From there, I moved into a role of attorney at legal aid where I worked exclusively in providing holistic legal services for domestic violence victims.  I was promoted to management and was a team leader and supervisor for additional DV projects and prisoner re-entry programs.  I then stretched my wings into the world of private practice, continuing in the primary focus of family law issues for about 15 years leading me to seek this seat on the bench. 

  • Family
    Married for 24 years; I have 4 children. My oldest, has provided a great son-in-law and three grandchildren, my son, Willie passed away two years ago this Christmas of a Fentanyl overdose; my youngest son, is excelling in his third year at the University of Notre Dame and my 18 yr old baby has taught me so much through her life with Down Syndrome
  • Affiliations

    I have been involved for many years with Special Olympics, Miracle League Baseball, the Down Syndrome Association, Autism Speaks, the Knights of Columbus, and multiple veteran organizations including Honor Flight and Fath Mission volunteer attorney legal services.

    I am a converted Catholic since 1997 and am a parishioner of St. Margaret of Cortona Church.

  • Endorsements

    Fraternal Order of Police

    Central Ohio Association for Justice (COAJ) - "Recommended"

Photo of Don  Roberts Don Roberts

Question 1

List your judicial experience (courts and years)

Ohio state, municipal and mayors courts: 2002 through present

10th District, Ohio Court of Appeals: 2005 through present

United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio: 2006 through present

United States Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit: 2016 through present

Kentucky (pro hac vice) various years

Illinois (pro hac vice) various years

California (pro hac vice) 2012


Question 2

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

As a US Air Force Veteran, former police officer, former clerk for the clerk of courts office, municipal court bailiff, investigator/paralegal with a public defender's office, I gained valuable insight of the legal system, criminal justice system from a non-attorney vantage point;

I also served as a Columbus City Prosecutor's Office mediator, legal intern at the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and the Cincinnati Prosecutor's Office gave me priceless opportunities to observe and learn prior to becoming an attorney;

I have practiced primarily in Domestic & Juvenile Court (aka: Family Court) for 20 years.  My representation is reflective of my goal-oriented approach to meet client needs and has led me to practice beyond Franklin County and into 47 other counties in Ohio and several other states.  This type of representation is indicative of quality representation and close-knit relationships that are found representing families. This is a very important consideration prior to taking a seat on the bench.  Only with actual family law experience can you empathize with those parties before you and the counsel that brings them to court. I have that experience and will apply it in a strong, fair and balanced way when elected. 

Question 3

Why are you running for this particular court seat?

I am running for Domestic & Juvenile Court because my experience in representing families for 20 years in hearings, protection orders and trials have prepared me to not only take a seat on this very important bench, but to improve upon it from my predecessors path before me. I will improve the most emotional court by expediting the long, stressful and often painful process of moving through the legal system of divorce, custody, child support and juvenile delinquency cases.  I plan to work to implement the used of specialized dockets like drug court, veterans/first responders docket and mental health issue dockets to expedite and better identify paths to success. I ask that you put a seasoned veteran of domestic court practice on the bench to better meet the needs of our Franklin County families.