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Community and Court Leadership


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New judges in Ohio now have available to them a much needed resource to enhance their effectiveness. In her first full term on the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Stratton worked with the Ohio Judicial College which now offers a two-week training program for new Ohio judges that provides practical advice on topics ranging from the processing of criminal pleas to management of a crowded civil docket. In addition to teaching new judges, Justice Stratton continues to commit valuable time to judicial education as a frequent lecturer and instructor in seminars for judges, attorneys and court personnel. She also accepts numerous public speaking engagements which provide her with an opportunity to educate the general public about the judiciary. She especially enjoys speaking to high school students and sharing her own story of coming to America with a few hundred dollars and working her way through college and law school. Her hope is that her insights will inspire students to believe that they can achieve their own goals.

Justice Stratton served on the Board of Trustees and now serves on the Advisory Council for the Children for a Safe America Foundation, a group whose purpose is to help kids deal with violence through the use of art, writing, and expression. One of the foundation's most effective projects has been the distribution of "Unlived Lives," a cautionary tale written by inmates who believe that the sharing of their own personal experiences will discourage students from leading a life of crime.

Although she became known as the "Velvet Hammer" for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases, Justice Stratton remains firmly committed to improving the lives of those who find themselves in the criminal justice system. She has been active in the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections (OJAAC), an association that works to gather together limited resources and fosters cooperation among the many groups that deal with community corrections as an alternative to prison.

Justice Stratton has long been committed to eye care and safety. As a new lawyer, she became involved in Prevent Blindness Ohio and completed two years as state board chair. With an estimated 500,000 Ohio children suffering from undetected or untreated vision problems, the challenges are many. PBO provides vision screening for all ages, free eye exams and eyeglasses for needy children and adults, andpromotes eye safety at home, in sports and at work.

Justice Stratton has played a key role in making all Ohio courtrooms safe and secure places where disputes can be resolved and justice achieved. As former co-chair of the Ohio Court Security project, she helped implement an $11 million dollar program designed to improve court security statewide. The project included a careful assessment of the security needs of each state court, extensive training for judges, court employees and court security personnel, and recommendations regarding additional security equipment and funding. Ohio's upgraded court security system is now well ahead of its time in terms of preparedness.

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