Those who appeal verdicts rendered in Williams County and much of northwest Ohio will now do so before a new presiding judge.
At a judges’ meeting on Nov. 6, 2019, Judge Gene A. Zmuda was elected to serve as presiding judge of the Sixth District Court of Appeals of Ohio, effective January 2020.
Zmuda was originally elected to the Sixth District Court of Appeals in 2018.
Prior to the Court of Appeals, Zmuda served as a trial judge in Toledo Municipal Court from 2003-06, and as a common pleas court judge for Lucas County, General Trial Division, from 2006 to 2018.
He served as an at-large city councilman for the City of Toledo from 1993 to 2003.
Zmuda practiced law for 18 years for various law firms prior to becoming a judge.
Additionally, Zmuda has served as adjunct professor at the University of Toledo, in the Honors College and the College of Law. He also has presented various continuing legal education programs in Ohio on behalf of the Ohio Judicial College, for which he is also a former trustee.
He currently serves as chair of the Civil Law Committee for the Ohio Judicial Conference and is a member of its executive committee. He has spoken nationally about issues concerning Lucas County criminal justice and pretrial reform efforts.
Zmuda received his bachelor’s degree, graduating magna cum laude, from the University of Toledo in 1981, and his doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1984. He is married to his wife, Terri, and they have two sons.
The Ohio courts of appeals are established in the Ohio constitution. Their primary function is to decide appeals from the common pleas, municipal and county courts. The state is divided into 12 appellate districts. The Sixth District Court of Appeals has its courthouse in Toledo and decides appeals from all trial courts across Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams and Wood counties.
All cases are heard and decided by a three-judge panel, comprised of judges who are elected to their position by voters within the same region.
There are five elected judges on the Sixth District Court of Appeals: Presiding Judge Zmuda and judges Mark L. Pietrykowski, Arlene Singer, Thomas J. Osowik and Christine E. Mayle.