AP NEWS

Raymond C. Headen for 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals, Jan. 2 term: endorsement editorial

September 30, 2018

Raymond C. Headen for 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals, Jan. 2 term: endorsement editorial

Cuyahoga County voters can’t go wrong in this fall’s lone contested 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals race, an open seat being sought by two well-regarded local lawyers in private practice who both appear deeply committed to greater accessibility and diversity on the local bench. The 8th District hears appeals from Cuyahoga County courts.

Both Raymond C. Headen of Richmond Heights, an expert in bond law and municipal finance, and Michelle J. Sheehan of Rocky River, a corporate attorney, are making their first tries for public office.

Headen, 58, grew up in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, where he says former Mayor Mike White was a neighbor. He says he’s “running because it matters,” arguing for more community outreach from the bench to provide “second chance” opportunities to ex-offenders.

As a bond counsel who worked on the Rock Hall financing among others, Headen says he can apply the same rigorous analysis in the appellate realm. In the late 1990s, Headen, a Republican, also served as general counsel to Ohio Treasurer Ken Blackwell.

Headen did not participate in the Judge4Yourself local bar association ratings, citing both an April critique from local black pastors and his concern that lawyers involved in the ratings process might not have sufficient experience with municipal finance to evaluate his candidacy.

Sheehan, 50, a Democrat, was one of the first women at Cleveland’s Reminger Co., where she’s practiced law for 25 years, to rise from law clerk to partner. She’s also one of only 28 lawyers in Ohio certified as a specialist in appellate law.

Sheehan’s spouse Brendan Sheehan is a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge, but she says that recusing herself in cases involving him would not be an impediment given that there are 11 other judges who serve on this busy appeals court.

A former president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, Sheehan was given “excellent” ratings from the women’s bar and two of the other three local bar associations in the Judge4Yourself ratings coalition, and a “Good” from the Norman S. Minor Bar Association.

In a very close call, we feel Headen is the superior candidate in this race, for the added diversity of background and in the law that he would bring to the 8th District bench. Cuyahoga County voters should elect Raymond C. Headen on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Early in-person and absentee voting for the Nov. 6 election begins Oct. 10. For more resources on Cuyahoga County judicial races, besides the Judge4Yourself ratings by four local bar associations, consult Judicial Votes Count at the University of Akron and the League of Women Voters’ voters’ guide. 

Democrat Michelle J. Sheehan, a corporate litigator with Reminger Co. in Cleveland, and Republican Raymond C. Headen of Beachwood-based Headen & Co., a bond counsel and public/private finance specialist, are vying for an open seat on the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals based in Cleveland. The candidates were interviewed by the editorial board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer as part of its endorsement process on Sept. 5, 2018. Listen to full audio of the interview below: 

About our editorials: Editorials express the view of the editorial board of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer -- the senior leadership and editorial-writing staff. As is traditional, editorials are unsigned and intended to be seen as the voice of the news organization.  

Have something to say about this topic?

* Send a letter to the editor, which will be considered for print publication.

* Email general questions about our editorial board or comments on this editorial to Elizabeth Sullivan, director of opinion, at esullivan@cleveland.com.

* Use the comments to share your thoughts. Then, stay informed when readers reply to your comments by using the “Follow” option at the top of the comments, & look for updates via the small blue bell in the lower right as you look at more stories on cleveland.com.

AP RADIO
Update hourly