LIMA — With his wife doing the swearing-in honors, Todd Kohlrieser took the oath of office Friday as Allen County’s next probate and juvenile court judge.
Kohlrieser was elected in November without opposition to succeed Judge Glenn Derryberry, who opted to retire and not seek re-election. The new judge’s term will begin Feb. 9.
Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terri Kohlrieser presented the oath of office to her husband, while the couple’s children, Jack and Abigail, looked on.
Following the ceremony, Kohlrieser addressed a packed courtroom on the top floor of the Allen County courthouse and thanked many of the individuals throughout the legal fraternity whom he said helped shape his career. Chief among those was his predecessor, Derryberry.
“Judge took a chance on me 13 years ago,” Kohlrieser said. “He taught me how to handle cases and most of all how to become a good judge. I wouldn’t be here without him, and I hope he continues to help me in the future.”
Derryberry is hanging up his robe after 13 years on the bench later this month. He previously spent 18 years as the chief magistrate at the court.
He was appointed to the role in November 2007 by then-Gov. Ted Strickland, replacing former Judge David Kinworthy, who retired after 33 years on the bench. Derryberry will remain in office until his retirement on January 31, 2021
Kohlrieser served the probate/juvenile court as a magistrate since 2008 and was chief magistrate since 2015. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 2002 and previously served as the assistant city prosecutor at Lima Municipal Court.
Others who paved the way for him, the new judge said, include current and former members of the county bar association.
He cited the late Tom Kuhn, Lima City Law Director Tony Geiger, Municipal Court Judge Tammie Hursh and former Judge William Lauber, along with veteran defense attorneys Bill Kluge, Steve Chamberlain and Bob Gryzbowski, for playing key roles in helping shape his love for the legal justice system.
Many current and former judges and lawyers, along with other county officials, were in attendance at Friday’s ceremonies.
“I also want to thank God. Without Him, none of this would be possible. And I want to thank the citizens and voters of Allen County for supporting me,” Kohlrieser said. “I want to thank my friends and family for being here today, and I want to thank Terri for all she does for me and our family on a daily basis. I love you very much,” he said to his wife.
Kohlrieser vowed to never stop learning and attempting to be a better jurist.
“We all have a responsibility to be problem-solvers, not problem-makers,” he said. “I will strive to do just that. I promise to continue to strive to be the best I can be.”