Posted by on Apr 19, 2010 in The Blog, Uncategorized | No Comments

Hello Everybody,

Someone on Facebook asked me why I became a judge. I knew I had addressed it in my book so I thought I would go there and just re-write what I wrote. Funny thing was I summed it up in just a couple of sentences, and I must say it wasn’t very lucid.

So I will try again here. The thing is I don’t like to claim grandeur when it just isn’t the way things are. So I have no profound answer. I had no great calling or socio-political awakening that drew me to my job. Nor was it a life long dream.

As I have always said, and will continue to do so until new facts come in that make me change my mind, I am an accidental over-achiever that never planned to do the things I’ve done.

Truth is, I ran for judge because of circumstances. I was a 33 year old exhausted new mother who was working rough hours at a law firm when one of the partners at my firm said the judge in my municipality was retiring after 18 years on the bench and he thought I should run for her seat. He thought I would make a good judge and I thought a lot of him.

Not only that, the court house was just blocks from my house and judges work regular hours. Sounded like a plan to me.

I always considered myself level headed and understanding, not just about the law, but about people as well. I had appeared before a lot of judges in court and I felt I could do just as well, if not better. So I thought it was a good idea.

I won by 6 votes on election night and 6 years later I was re-elected with 80% of the vote. I worked hard there. Not just on the bench but at community out reach and with kids. My plan was to help people not come to me in the first place.

It was, I believe, a good fit. But I was getting a little bored by the end – considered running for a higher court when 20th Television called. You know the rest. Yet again, circumstances conspired to take me places I had no intention of going.

My mother said then, and still claims to this day, it was not a good move. She says my job is silly – and her position is not without support. But she is good humored about it and I enjoy my life. I also try to insert something meaningful in the midst of the voyeuristic madness.

That reminds me – someone asked me my judicial philosophy to put in an article but they never used it. It was supposed to be a light hearted article and they wanted a short pithy quote. I did the best I could but they just didn’t use it. But since I wrote it I thought I might as well share it.

MIND YOU this is not the sum total of my judicial approach – it was just a short hand statement to give them an idea of what I was like. Being a judge is a hard thing if done well – complicated and filled with room for error. I used to stay up nights wondering if I did the right thing . E used to call me The Night Stalker. So for what it’s worth:

Judicial Philosophy
Lynn C. Toler

While on the bench in Ohio my judicial philosophy was two fold: “the law almost always allows you to do the right thing but sometimes you have to work hard to make that happen and . . . . incarceration without elucidation is pointless.”

Now that I am on television dealing with matters of the heart and arguments over who gets the big screen TV my philosophy is: at some point before the end of the show I need to say at least one thing that has some socially redeeming value even if it’s as simple as ‘don’t get pregnant by a guy who doesn’t support the kids he already has.’ You wouldn’t believe how many people get that one wrong.


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