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Jan. 25, 2006
Summit County Appellate Judge Hears Supreme Court Case

Judge Beth WhitmoreJudge Beth Whitmore of the 9th District Court of Appeals served as a visiting judge on the Supreme Court of Ohio today and heard oral arguments in a case involving a Shelby County civil lawsuit.

Judge Whitmore was selected by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer to sit in place of Justice Alice Robie Resnick, who recused herself from Case Nos. 2005-0702 and 2005-0734, Doe v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

According to the Ohio Constitution, in the event of a recusal by a Justice, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court can select any of the 68 sitting Ohio appellate court judges to sit temporarily on the Supreme Court.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger also recused herself from Doe v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Judge Judith L. French of the 10th District Court of Appeals sat in place of Lanzinger.

“We are pleased to have Judge Whitmore and Judge French join us today,” Chief Justice Moyer said. “Their participation will provide the parties in the case with a court of seven justices despite the recusal of Justice Resnick and Justice Lanzinger.”

The case involves a civil lawsuit filed by an adult male against the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati for damages arising from the plaintiff's alleged sexual abuse by a priest employed by the diocese more than 20 years ago. The suit challenges Ohio's two-year statutory time limit for filing civil lawsuits based on sexual assault.

Judge Whitmore, who is a resident of Akron, was elected to the 9th District Court of Appeals in 1998 and was re-elected in 2004. The appellate court serves Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne and its judges often hear cases off-site in each of the four counties.

Judge Whitmore has also served as a visiting judge for the Supreme Court's own Off-Site Court program in which high school students and others are given the opportunity to observe the proceedings of the Supreme Court and interact with the Justices in their own community.

“It's been a pleasure to serve in the past and I've always appreciated the collegiality of the Justices,” said Judge Whitmore, who also served as a visiting judge when the Supreme Court was housed in Rhodes State Office Tower. “For visiting judges, serving on the Supreme Court is a good way to sharpen our skills as appellate judges and share our perspective.”

Judge Whitmore previously served as a trial judge on the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. Before that, she specialized in civil litigation and was in the U.S. Air Force.

Archived video of this case and every case argued before the Supreme Court of Ohio since March 2004 is available at www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/videostream.

For a high resolution, publication-quality photo of Judge Beth Whitmore, please visit: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/news/2006/whitmore_highres.zip.

Contact: Shannon Libby at 614.387.9250.