In 2009, Katarina Cook won election to the Akron Municipal Court, filling a vacated judgeship. Now she is seeking a full, six-year term on the bench. She has adapted well to the position, applying her experience, running an efficient courtroom while remaining sensitive to the particular role of the court in having an opportunity to reach defendants and alter the track of their lives.
We recommend the re-election of Katarina Cook on Nov. 5.
Before stepping into the position of judge, Cook served as a magistrate in the municipal court, handling the busy traffic division. She also worked as an assistant prosecutor in Stark County, focused on child abuse cases. Add time, too, in private practice, mostly in civil and probate matters.
As a judge, Cook has proved organized and attentive. She can be tough, even stern at times. That doesn’t mean she has lost sight of the way the court can intervene effectively. She recognizes the value in specialty courts, presiding for the past 15 months in the court covering those picked up for drunken driving. She increasingly sees the importance of alternative sentencing, in easing jail overcrowding and in serving a leading purpose of the court.
Cook has earned a full term.
Her opponent is Jon Oldham, who recently moved into a position as a magistrate and judicial attorney in the Summit County Probate Court. He spent a year as a visiting magistrate in the municipal court, presiding in disputes over small claims and between landlords and tenants, among other things. He has spent a decade in private practice, mostly involving business and other litigation, from insurance coverage to probate matters.
Oldham is a quick study. He has a stronger interest in alternative sentencing, or what he describes as a “therapeutic jurisprudence.” He performed well as a magistrate in the municipal court and has the makings of a good judge. For now, he would benefit from added experience, becoming a better candidate down the road.
The municipal court covers the cities of Akron and Fairlawn, the townships of Bath, Richfield and Springfield, plus the villages of Lakemore and Richfield, and part of Mogadore.