Making their cases for election

By Brian Haytcher-Star Beacon Newspaper

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The first of two Star Beacon political forums took place Wednesday night at Max’s Pizza and Grill.

The event featured Democrat candidates for 99th District state representative, Ashtabula County prosecutor, Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court judge and Ashtabula County sheriff.

Republican candidates for the posts were invited to participate, but declined.

Candidates had a chance to give opening statements, then and were asked questions before giving a closing statement.

Common Pleas Court Judge

Marie Lane currently serves as head of the Ashtabula County Public Defender’s Office. She is running against current Western County Court Judge David Schroeder for the Common Pleas Court Judge seat.

Lane is a founding member of the county’s drug court. She was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court’s commission on special dockets, which oversees drug and other dockets. Putting people in jail on drug charges was not working, Lane said.

“People need to know that drug court is not an easy program to complete,” Lane said.

Drug court participants with a judge once a week, and are randomly drug screened weekly, she said.

“The goal here is to get everybody out of the criminal justice system, because that way, we keep our community safer,” Lane said.

On bail reform, Lane said that the Ohio Supreme Court has taken the lead on the process, and is moving away from cash bonds.

Lane said she would be bound to follow sentencing guidelines, and would leave writing the laws to legislators.

The race for common pleas judge is about community safety, Lane said. She said she has spent the last 22 years litigating cases in the court she running to fill.

“I am dedicated to our community,” Lane said.

She said a sense of community must come into the courtroom for the court to be effective.

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Image Marie Lane