On Nov. 5, voters selected Marianne Hemmeter and Kyle Rohrer to serve as Delaware Municipal Court judges for the next six years.
Hemmeter received 28,481 votes, and Rohrer received 29,110 votes in Tuesday’s election.
Rohrer, who is currently the first assistant prosecutor at the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office and a member of Delaware City Council representing the city’s Fourth Ward, told The Gazette he’s thankful for the opportunity to serve in a new position.
“I am grateful that the voters of our county entrusted me to be their next municipal court judge,” Rohrer said. “I will do my best to fill the big shoes of retiring Judge David Sunderman. Everyone who appears in my courtroom will leave knowing their case was fully and fairly heard.”
Hemmeter has been a municipal court judge since then-Gov. John Kasich appointed her in February 2015 to finish Judge David Gormley’s term after he moved to Delaware County Common Pleas Court. Before her appointment to the position, she worked as a prosecutor with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Hemmeter said she’s thankful to be selected for the position by voters.
“I love my job, and I’m just honored to be able to continue,” she said. “It really is a great job. It’s a great place to work, and we have a great staff.”
Hemmeter said the court processes over 28,000 cases a year, including traffic, misdemeanors and civil cases.
“At the end of the day, we close the doors here and go, ‘Wow, we did a lot of stuff today,’” Hemmeter said. “There’s a sense of fulfillment. The cases don’t last long, but you do realize when you are sitting on the bench that you are affecting how people live every day.”
Hemmeter said there’s a variety of issues and challenges ahead for her next term, including the opioid crisis and the possibility of a drug court being created.
“There’s a lot of things on the horizon in the criminal justice system that will impact how we do our jobs here, so there’s never a dull moment between the cases and what’s expected of us as a court,” Hemmeter said. “With the number of cases and types of cases we have, how do we juggle and create a really good drug court and that’s why we don’t have one yet; it would be full tomorrow. Our resources are stretched to the limit.”
Hemmeter said the court already has specialized dockets for OVI cases, cases involving veterans and mental health cases, and she added judges and courts are playing a larger role in rehabilitation instead of just sentencing.
“The debate about whether courts should be involved in these specialized dockets is over; it’s clear that they expect courts to have a role and find those defendants who are ready for rehabilitation,” Hemmeter said. “It’s different, but it’s necessary.”