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Keynote: Maureen O’Connor


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Lakeside is honored to welcome retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio Maureen O’Connor as part of the Keynote Speaker series on Tuesday, July 2. She will speak at 10:30 a.m. in Hoover Auditorium.

O’Connor is the first woman to lead the Ohio Supreme Court and the longest-serving woman elected statewide in Ohio’s history. As Chief Justice, O’Connor led significant reforms and improvements in the Ohio judicial system and was a leader nationally.

She is a past president of the National Conference of Chief Justices and former Chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors.

O’Connor started electronic filing at the Supreme Court, provided appellate courts with a modern case management system and committed more than $40 million to local courts to enhance technology. The funding increased access to justice and reduced the cost of justice for litigants, defendants and the public.

Her upgrades made Ohio a leader in its ability to continue court operations and the administration of justice through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

O’Connor worked to improve fairness in the judicial system. She advocated for reform to ensure people were not held in jail prior to resolution of their case simply because they could not afford bail.

She spearheaded the creation of a statewide criminal sentencing database and a uniform sentencing entry to establish standardized data for felony sentencing. O’Connor established a task force to maintain public trust and confidence in grand juries, created a committee to examine the administration of the death penalty and proposed improvements to strengthen judicial elections in Ohio. She created a task force on conviction integrity to look at policies and practices to determine equity, fairness and advise the judiciary and the legislature.

O’Connor initiated a regional consortium of eight states, working together to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. The model was replicated elsewhere in the country. She increased the role of specialized dockets, to bring community resources together and make treatment available to provide opportunity for a second chance where substance abuse or mental health disorders lead to court involvement. O’Connor held trial courts in esteem for the challenging work they do and the opportunities they create.

She became the 148th justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio following her first statewide judicial election. In January 2003, O’Connor was the sixth woman seated on the Court, a member of the first-ever female majority. When reelected in 2008, she carried all 88 Ohio counties.

In 2010, her election as Chief Justice garnered approximately 68% of the vote and all counties. She was reelected again in 2016, serving until her constitutionally mandated retirement.

From 1985-1993, O’Connor served as Magistrate in Summit County Probate Court. From 1993-1995, she served as Judge in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. As a trial judge, O’Connor was elected by her peers to serve as the administrative judge – a testament to her ability to build coalitions and maintain collegiality while administering to the business of the courts.

O’Connor left the Summit County bench to serve her community as Summit County Prosecuting Attorney from 1995-1999. She reformed child support enforcement, aggressively prosecuted repeat offenders, violent criminals and public officials who committed ethical violations or improprieties.

She received accolades from victims’ rights groups and was honored by Cleveland State University with the Distinguished Alumnae Award for Civic Achievement and received numerous other awards.

In 1999, O’Connor was elected with Governor Bob Taft to serve as Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the first woman to serve in that role. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she became the state’s first liaison with the newly formed U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. As Ohio’s leader in Homeland Security, she chaired the State of Ohio Security Task Force and the State Building Security Review Committee.

Born in the nation’s capital and raised in Strongsville and Parma, O’Connor’s career in public service and the law spanned three decades. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1973 and a Juris Doctorate from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University in 1980.

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Jul 02, 2024


10:30 am


Hoover Auditorium
Hoover Auditorium
115 West 3rd Street, Lakeside, Lakeside Marblehead, OH, USA


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