NILES - Court of Common Pleas Judge John M. Stuard was praised by members of the Trumbull County Bar Association for his years of dedicated service to the judicial system and community.
To show the appreciation for that service, the association presented Stuard with the President's Award, which was among the many honors bestowed upon those in the legal profession and involved with the profession during the annual meeting / awards banquet held at Vernon's Cafe in Niles.
Jason Earnhart, president of the Trumbull Bar Association, said Stuard served for several decades, showing honor and integrity for the judicial system.
Earnhart, who has practiced before Stuard, said Stuard has shown him ''that service on the bench is more about responsibility than about having the privilege.''
Stuard, who will be retiring after serving for Central District Court and currently the Common Pleas General Division Court, had also served as Warren city prosecutor, Newton Falls solicitor and Orangeville solicitor.
Judge W. Wyatt McKay, who has worked with Stuard, shared many stories of Stuard's career, including his support of the Second Amendment, his passion for the Civil War and the many cases he handled including some unusual ones such as when a defendant fled the courthouse and jumped into the Mahoning River.
''He has been tough when he needed to be and compassionate when he needed to be ... It amazes me his grasp of legal issues and the many tough cases he has handled. He is a wonderful judge and person who has taught us all so much,'' McKay said.
Stuard said he feels fortunate to have had such a long and good career and views those he has known and worked with as extended family.
''You often don't realize how others perceive you ... I have been very fortunate when I came to Warren. I have seen so many changes. While change is natural, you always have the hope that change will bring true progress and that is not necessarily always so,'' he said.
Stuard said he always focused on defending rights and showing respect to the Constitution.
''Justice is a real thing. As a judge I strive to see that justice is done,'' he said.
The Appreciation Award was presented to Niles Municipal Court Bailiff Guy Simeone.
Judge Thomas Townley, who hired Simeone 25 years ago, said Simeone is someone who he has always respected and trusted and views as a second father.
''I was thrilled when I heard he had been selected for the award. I can't think of a better person to receive the award. He has a remarkable constitution and is very active in the community. He has more contact with the public in the court as bailiff than I as judge,'' Townley said.
Townley said if the award is for community involvement, Simeone deserved it before he became a bailiff.
''I know no one more involved in Niles than he has been,'' he said.
Earnhart said Simeone has always been very accommodating to all those who come to the court.
Also recognized were:
Fifty-year member awards presented to Thomas A. LaPolla, James L. Pazol and Louis J. Vennitti;
Twenty-five year member awards presented to Martin J. Boetcher, Anna M. Ciambotti, John C. Grundy, Matthew O. Lamb, Susan M. Lightbody, Richard L. Magill, Thomas C. Nader and Robert I. Shaker;
Ten-year member awards presented to Giustina Chinchic, Robert L. Gensler, Dan Kerr and David S. Swader.