Paul Gallagher faced a challenging transition six years ago, moving from the policy fray of the Summit County Council to serve as a judge on the common pleas court. Would he find the right temperament, no longer the higher profile, outspoken advocate? To his credit, Gallagher has adjusted well, proving thoughtful, fair and effective. His performance amounts to a persuasive argument for a second, six-year term.
We recommend the re-election of Paul Gallagher on Nov. 6.
No question, Gallagher has benefited from his 15 years as a prosecutor in Portage County, handling a wide array of criminal cases, knowing well the pace and rhythm of a courtroom. As a council member, he wasn’t merely an ardent partisan. He took care with detail, and that is something he has carried to the courthouse. Also echoing in a different way is his willingness to take a risk.
When the county prosecutor obtained a federal grant last year to start a new felony domestic violence court, Gallagher stepped up to become the presiding judge. The project remains an experiment. What has emerged is the value of one judge bringing consistency to this often difficult set of cases. Gallagher has impressed with his commitment to making the court work.
His opponent is David Lombardi, an experienced and respected attorney with a broad-ranging civil and criminal practice. Clearly, Lombardi has the tools and temperament to be a solid judge. He draws a distinction in his preference for using mediation more aggressively. Strong as Lombardi is, Gallagher has earned a second term.