Sharon L. Kennedy, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
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In 2012, Sharon L. Kennedy was elected to an unexpired term on the Ohio Supreme Court. Winning 85 of 88 counties with more than 57% of the vote, she was sworn in as the 154th Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, on December 7, 2012. Prior to serving on the Ohio Supreme Court she served as a Judge at the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division since 1999. From 2005 until December of 2012 Justice Kennedy served as the administrative judge of the Division.

As Administrative Judge, Kennedy improved the court’s case management system to ensure the timely resolution of cases for families and children. Working with state legislators she championed a “common sense” family law initiative to reduce multiple forum litigation for Butler County families.

Facing Butler County’s economic crisis head-on, Kennedy organized concerned elected officials in a county-wide Budget Work Group. Seeing the need to bring private sector financial know-how to the government, she worked to create the Advisory Committee to the Budget Work Group. Serving as the facilitator, Kennedy led discussions between county officials and private sector leaders to analyze county finances, study and implement cost saving measures, and present business driven fiscal policy to the County Commissioners.

Beginning her legal career as a solo practitioner, Justice Kennedy ran a small business of her own. While in private practice she served the legal needs of families, juveniles, and the less fortunate. As special counsel for Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery, Justice Kennedy fought on behalf of Ohio’s taxpayers to collect monies due the State of Ohio. As a part-time magistrate in the Butler County Area Courts, Justice Kennedy presided over a wide-array of civil litigation and assisted law enforcement officers and private citizens seeking the issuance of criminal warrants for arrest.

Justice Kennedy began her career in the justice system as a police officer. She was assigned to a rotating, shift-single officer road patrol unit working to protect and serve the citizens of the City of Hamilton. From the routine, to the heart pounding, to the heart breaking she has seen it all. During her career at the Hamilton Police Department Justice Kennedy also worked undercover operations, implemented crime prevention programs, and later, as a civil assistant, assisted in drafting police policy and procedure for the Accreditation Program.

Throughout her career Justice Kennedy has served on numerous boards, developed and facilitated programs to address the needs of young people, and worked with judges across the state. As a dedicated jurist she has received numerous awards of recognition including, Nichols Longworth III, Alumni Achievement Award, University of Cincinnati, College of Law, May 17, 2014; Distinguished Alumnus of Northwest High School, 2014; was named one of 13 professional women to watch by The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 17, 2013; Excellence in Public Service, in June 2009; Judge of the Year, in 2006; Above the Fold Award, in 2002; The Furtherance of Justice Award, in 2001; and was spotlighted in the University College of Law fall magazine.