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Judge Robert A. Douglas 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Robert A. DouglasRobert A. Douglas Jr., a Youngstown Municipal Court judge since November 1997, is retiring on 1st August 2012.

When asked why he’s leaving before his term expires Dec. 31, 2013, Judge Douglas, 72, said, “I’m ready. I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while.”

Because of state law dealing with the age of judges, Douglas couldn’t seek re-election next year.

The judge said he has no plans to practice law but is willing to serve as a visiting judge during his retirement.

Judge Douglas spent close to 50 years in the public sector, starting as a social worker in the late 1960s.

He also ran the Trumbull County Welfare Department and the Mahoning County Department of Human Services and worked for the Youngstown Community Development Agency, former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., and as an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor.

In November 1997, then-Gov. George V. Voinovich, a Republican, appointed Douglas, a Democrat, to fill the unexpired term of Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Luke Levy.

He was the first black to serve on the bench since Lloyd R. Haynes, who retired in 1989. Douglas currently is the only black judge in any court in the Mahoning Valley.

As to what he’ll miss the most when he retires, Judge Douglas said, “The people. I really enjoy the people. I really enjoy the job.”

The judge said he hopes to be remembered for his “strong leadership.” He said he was appointed at a time when the municipal court “was in shambles.”

At the time, Levy had retired because of health reasons, and then-Judge Patrick Kerrigan was on paid leave after being indicted.

During his time as judge, Douglas said he is proud of the changes he implemented, including a pre-trial system, video arraignments, hiring the court’s first administrator, better structuring the probation department and better organizing the court docket.

One thing he was unable to do is settle a long-standing dispute between the judges and the city administration on a new court facility. The matter is pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.

He served three years in the U.S. Army as an armored intelligence specialist.

 

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017