When Judge Michael Donnelly vacates his seat on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in January to become an Ohio Supreme Court Justice, he will be replaced by Wanda C. Jones, Gov. John Kasich announced Wednesday.
Kasich said he would appoint the 46-year-old Republican lawyer for the remainder of Donnelly's term, which means she'll run for re-election in 2020.
Jones ran against Judge Daniel Gaul in November and lost, despite an endorsement from the Plain Dealer editorial board and other local groups.
Gaul's racist language and unconstitutional sentencing tactics had been featured in the third season of the Serial podcast
, and Jones presented herself as a more compassionate alternative. As a woman of color who worked for years to obtain her law degree, Jones said that she'd bring her life experiences, not just her courtroom experience, with her to the bench.
"What good is experience if you're not unbiased?" She said at a pre-election judicial forum
, responding to a question about her relative inexperience, compared to Gaul.
Jones has practiced law for roughly seven years and is currently a partner at a private practice, Axner & Jones, in Solon. Her term will officially get underway on Jan. 7.
Gaul's upcoming term, his fifth, will also be his last due to age restrictions.