Berhalter going from prosecutor to bench

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Belmont County Prosecutor Chris Berhalter has been appointed by Gov.John Kasich to serve as judge on the Belmont County Court, Northern Division.

“It is not without some regret that I am leaving because I know there is still work to be done but I do know I look forward to the new challenges and being able to serve and make a difference in the community,” Berhalter said. “It really has been my honor to serve as prosecutor.”

Berhalther first became Belmont County Prosecutor nearly nine years ago. When he first set out on this task, he had some very lofty goals in mind. One of his biggest goals was to make a difference, not only for the community by working with the multiple law enforcement agencies in Belmont County but for the victims as well.

“We not only met those goals, but we surpassed many of them,” Berhalter said. “We were only able to do this because of everyone’s efforts and hard work. That includes my staff, law enforcement, children services and all the other agencies involved. It has also been my privilege to work as part of this team in trying to make our county an even better and safer place.”

By being prosecutor, Berhalter was able to see first-hand how hard the law enforcement and other agencies work to keep the citizens of Belmont County safe.

“A vast majority of them go above and beyond what is required of them,” said Berhalter. “Because of their efforts they have made a difference.”

For Berharlter, a father of three, one of the most difficult parts were the cases the involved children, where they were hurt or abused.

“A lot of the cases we handled were extremely difficult, but the most disturbing were the ones that involved children,” Berhalter said. “One of our biggest goals is to go after those who prey upon children and because of everyone’s hard work and effort, we have truly made a difference in that area.”

As a judge, he knows he will have his work cut out for him and will do his best to maintain that high standards that was set by the previous judge, Frank Fregiato. Berhalter looks forward to that challenge.

“Berharlter will have very big shoes to fill but if anyone could replace Judge Frank Fregiato and uphold his same ethics and standards, I believe it is Chris Berhalter,” said Martins Ferry Police Chief and Drug Task Force Commander John McFarland.

Over the last several years they have worked on numerous projects together.

Berhalter states that he could not have done any of this without the support of his family.

“I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and three children that have supported me. Even with the long hours, they have been so supportive because they know what we are trying to accomplish,” Berhalter said. “I am fortunate that I have their complete support to take on this new challenge.”

Berhalter will assume office on Nov. 18, 2013, and must run in November 2014 to retain the seat for the unexpired term, which ends Jan. 1, 2019.

Berhalter graduated from Belliare St. John and received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and earned his juris doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Since 2005.

Berhalter is a member of the board for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Upper Ohio Valley as well as the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He began his career at Sommer, Liberati & Berhalter shortly after graduating from law school.

He resides in?Martins Ferry.