April 29, 2015
Justice Sharon L. Kennedy Featured in Academic Book

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy has been featured in the scholarly book Trends in the Judiciary: Interviews with Judges Across the Globe, Volume Two. The recently released volume features more than a dozen judges from across the world and shares their prospective on the legal profession.

The editors’ purpose in publishing the Trends series was to present the public with a “window into the word of judging” and offer a deeper understanding of judges’ roles in society. By interviewing judges, the editors said they were able to target what judges see happening in the judicial system, specifically regarding criminal law and procedure, issues the judges consider important, and changes they see as successes or failures.

Justice Kennedy, who has been a member of the Ohio Supreme Court since 2012, was one of four U.S. judges to have interviews included in the book. Prior to sitting on the state’s highest court, Justice Kennedy served as the Butler County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Division since 1999, and was that division’s administrative judge from 2005 until December 2012. She began her career in the justice system as a police officer in Hamilton, Ohio.

Justice Kennedy said it’s her background that helped shape her as a judge and becoming a justice on the state’s highest court put her in a place to better help Ohioans.

“As Ohio’s court of last resort, I believed I could best serve my community by serving on the court as a justice who would follow the law, not rewrite it or legislate from the bench,” Justice Kennedy said in her interview.

“One of the key factors in the economic growth and stability of Ohio rests in our adherence to the rule of law and its fair and impartial application,” Justice Kennedy added.

Justice Kennedy spoke on topics ranging from her personal judicial philosophies to concerns about the court’s future as well as areas in which the Ohio Supreme Court thrives.

“The three major concerns confronting the judiciary are adequate funding, access to the courts, and technology,” Justice Kennedy said.

She discussed the ways in which the Supreme Court is addressing those concerns, including significant measures taken to improve access to the courts and to language interpreters. Justice Kennedy also talked about the need for specialty courts and her hope that other jurisdictions will see their value and adopt them.

“Courts are part of a larger community and [they] have an obligation to help improve the welfare of the community,” Justice Kennedy said. “Today, drug courts, mental health courts, reentry courts, OVI courts, veteran’s courts, sexual offender courts, felony nonsupport courts, and domestic violence courts are tackling the tough job of treatment and behavior modification so that all of us within our communities live free of criminal behavior.”

Justice Kennedy said there’s no better job than working at the Supreme Court on behalf of Ohio’s citizens. She credits family members, teachers, and mentors for setting her on the path to becoming a justice.

“I have been truly blessed. How many people can honestly say, ‘I have succeeded in achieving everything that I have sought to accomplish in my professional life?’ I believe I am a living example of the American dream,” Justice Kennedy said.

Besides Justice Kennedy, the book features conversations with judges from Oregon, Missouri, Illinois, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Australia, among others across the world.

For a high-resolution, print-quality photo of Justice Kennedy, visit: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/news/images/justices/kennedy_highres.zip.