OTTAWA — It’s been nearly 30 years since the residents of Putnam County have had a new judge in Putnam County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Randall Basinger did not seek another term, but instead is running for a seat on the 3rd District Court of Appeals.
Two men are vying for Basinger’s spot as fudge, Republican Keith Schierloh and Democrat Todd Schroeder.
Schierloh, 46, has been an attorney since 1999. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law and is a private practice attorney dealing with criminal and domestic relations. He was born in Putnam County and has lived in Putnam County his entire life.
“We are a local family practice so we do a little bit of everything,” Schierloh said. “I also represent several villages, Glandorf, Miller City, Leipsic, Gilmore, Gilboa, and I am the magistrate for the village of Columbus Grove Mayor’s Court since 2006.”
Schroeder, 38, has been an attorney since 2002. He, too, is a graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, and a lifelong resident of Putnam County.
“I have been the Common Pleas prosecutor since 2006, so since that time I have been the lead trial attorney in over 90 percent of all felony jury trials that have occurred in the courtroom,” Schroeder said.
Both men have corresponding reasons for seeking the job, their love of the courtroom.
“My temperament and opportunity to listen will do very well in that position,” Schierloh said. “I think I will be able to serve the people of Putnam County well. I love the courtroom. The courtroom is where the action is and I’ve always enjoyed it. I relish the opportunity to be in the courtroom and this gives me the opportunity to be in it day in and day out.”
“With Judge Basinger stepping down, I believe it would be a smooth transition for the people of Putnam County if I were to take over that role,” Schroeder said. “Also, I want to be Common Pleas judge because I have such passion and dedication to the law. In my free time, I am a college law instructor, I give legal presentations to statewide, regional and local audiences based on invitations that I receive and I research and write the Ohio Sexual Assault Case Law Review twice a year, which gets distributed to all Ohio judges. So I fully and deeply appreciate the responsibility that goes with it, and would never take it lightly and I want to be judge for all those reasons.”
Both men are looking to bring a drug court to Putnam County.
“The drug court has been talked about,” Schierloh said. “I have had the opportunity to deal with these drug courts, the one in Allen County and Hancock County, as well as seeing some things starting up in Paulding County. I have some long-standing ideas of how that can work and my hope is to utilize some of those aspects that work very well for one county and maybe not so well in another one that I can take those good aspects and tweak them a little bit to make them work the right way.”
“I intend, if elected, to bring a Recovery Court to Putnam County,” Schroeder said. “Putnam County is almost on an island in not having one in the sense that every county that touches Putnam County, except Defiance County, has one already. The heroin epidemic and other addictions are just devastating families and so that would be an absolute priority of mine to do.”
Both men have been involved in their community.
“I’ve been on the board for the Pathways Counseling Center for Drugs and Mental Health for the last 16 years, their board president for the past 15 years,” Schierloh said. “I am a third-degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus. I’ve coached baseball at different levels from little league to high school acme in the summer for the last 16 years. I am involved in a lot of local organizations through the church, Leipsic Hunting and Fishing Club, Glandorf Rod and Gun, the Ottawa Glandorf Jaycees. I’ve been actively involved in all of those since I’ve graduated from high school in 1989.”
“I have received awards for advocacy on behalf of domestic violence and sexual assault victims and I have received awards for professional excellence and community involvement,” Schroeder said. “I am on the Habitat for Humanity board, the Mental Health Alcohol board of Putnam County, which is the ADAMHS board, part of the Putnam County Sexual Assault Response Team, and the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Center Advisory Council. I have been the keynote speaker for [Mothers Against Drunk Driving] annual award ceremony and a board member on the NWO Youth Flag Football League.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.