Harrison judge elected to state post

CADIZ Harrison County Common Pleas Juvenile Probate Court Judge Matthew Puskarich has taken a new position as secretary of the Ohio Juvenile Board of Judges. Puskarich was sworn in June 8 during a yearly meeting in Columbus.

He has served on the board of trustees the past seven years and represented Harrison County in that position. He is currently a member of the Supreme Court Subcommittee of Professionalism and Ethics where he has served for the past two years.

The association is composed of judges specializing in juvenile and domestic relations throughout the state.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to serve. One of the main duties is not just secretarial note taking, but legal education for judges,” he said. “We will go to Columbus in two weeks as part of a commission to set education for juvenile judges.”

He noted the upcoming new House Bill 86, which deals with juvenile competency and which will take effect Sept. 30.

“That’s something we want to get trained up on very quickly,” he said, adding that they may also look into changing the classification of abuse neglect dependency cases to children in need of services. They are also addressing interstate custody rights to match Ohio with other states.”

Other priorities include development issues between males and females.

“One size does not fit all when looking at juvenile offenders,” Puskarich said.

Puskarich will move up to the treasurer’s position next year, then vice president and president in succeeding years.

“As the president you get to take some of these issues before the senate,” he said, adding that it will also involve working with the state government.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for small counties’ voices to be heard,” he said. “It represent everyone but brings an Appalachian view to state.

“I’m proud of the association for doing that,” he said, adding that the board rotates and includes members from small and large counties to give equal voice to all. “You’re getting the best of all worlds from that viewpoint.”

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com