Jennifer O’Donnell For Judge: Experienced Public Defender Advocates Reform

Jennifer O’Donnell for Judge.

Public defenders are entirely unrepresented in Cuyahoga County’s court of common pleas, general division, right now. Of 34 current judges, not one has a public defense background.

Jennifer O’Donnell is running for judge to change this, and improve a local justice system in need of reforms.

Conditions in Cuyahoga County’s jail have made headlines and prompted formal investigations, and O’Donnell says that real solutions remain incomplete. “We are still in a situation where it is incredibly overcrowded, we have inmates that are sleeping on the floor,” she notes.

O’Donnell advocates greater transparency and more efficient courts, along with bail reform and lasting solutions to the county jail’s problems.

The need for criminal justice reform is about serving the entire community, as much as the rights of the accused, says O’Donnell. “If we want our communities to be safer, the way that we do that is by equipping the members of our community that are coming in front of the court with the tools that they need to be successful.”

O’Donnell offers 12 years experience as a public defender, and an additional perspective missing from the court of common pleas. On March 17, she will seek voters’ support in the Democratic primary.

State Senator Nickie Antonio has endorsed O’Donnell, along with Lakewood City Council President Dan O’Malley, At-large Councilperson Tristan Rader, and many community leaders throughout Cuyahoga County.

“We need smart judges with fresh energy and a commitment to fairness for all,” says Antonio. “Jennifer O’Donnell fits that bill.”

For more about O’Donnell, visit

Matt Kuhns is a freelance graphic designer, and occasional author.

Matt Kuhns

Matt Kuhns is a freelance graphic designer, and occasional author.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 4:27 PM, 02.18.2020