General Division Welcomes First Majority Female Bench

January 30, 2023

With the election of Judge Angelina Jackson in November of 2022, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court General Division has a majority of female judges for the first time in the court’s history. Of the eleven judges serving on the General Division bench, six are women.

Statistics collected annually by the National Institute of Women Judges show that Ohio’s Courts of Common Pleas overall are comprised of 36% women in 2023. This means that as a state, Ohio is similar to the national average of 33% women judges elected to general jurisdiction courts. But, Montgomery County’s Common Pleas Court General Division is now leading the way for diversity in the judiciary with 55% women judges.

Judge Mary Wiseman, who was recently elected the Administrative Judge of the General Division, took note of the change. “This is a great development for our court,” she said. “Judges are not only leaders in the criminal justice system, but leaders in the community.”

Judge Angelina Jackson also observed the importance of female representation not just to the legal community, but to the larger Montgomery County community judges serve. “Our court is made up of judges with a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds,” she said. “It strengthens the public’s trust and confidence in our legal system when our bench reflects the community that we serve.”

Montgomery County has made great strides in making a more diverse judiciary a reality. The first female judge elected to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court was Lillian Kern of the Domestic Relations division in 1977, and the first female judge elected to the General Division was Barbara Gorman in 1987. Both were widely regarded as trailblazers whose service paved the way for women to enter the judiciary.

Presently, the General Division is proud that the citizens of Montgomery County have made their voices heard by electing more women to the bench than ever before. Judge Wiseman stated, “It shows that systemic change is possible.”