Judge of Portage County Court of Pleas, Prob. Div.


Name: Bob Berger

Background: After serving time in the military he went to law school, and practiced law for 37 years in Portage county as trial attorney. Berger has done private practice for 30 years, and served as magistrate the last seven years to judge, Laura Pittman in Common Pleas Court

Berger received his degree in education from Kent State and joined the military after graduation.

Why should I care?: The juvenile and probate judge handles cases dealing with the well-being of children, juvenile traffic cases, delinquency, guardianship for minors, adoptions and name changes among other issues. Berger said he plans on using his experience to relieve the stress on parents going through a divorce and give the parents a chance to think about the best interests of the children and what the children are going through. He said his philosophy in working with children in trouble is to be perfectly honest and consistent with and give them consequences for their actions—consequences that are inconvenient to them to allow them a chance to think and progress and not make the same mistakes. 

Message for KSU students: When I became a trial attorney in juvenile court, I had several cases of children who couldn’t stay out of the adult court—in other words we couldn’t steer them away with juvenile court and basically it broke my heart. I’m real enthusiastic about trying to keep kids out of the adult system and social welfare network and allow them to have their self-esteem and accomplish things. So, many children don’t have that background with the parents that I had, it’s a shame that they can’t find their niche in life. 



Name: David Brode

Background: David Brode said he was given the opportunity to work for the current juvenile-probate judge, Tom Carnes and worked as magistrate for 11 years. In 2002, Brode became an assistant prosecuting attorney, where he continues to work today and assigned as general counsel for Portage County Job and Family Services. He said he spends most of his time representing children services agencies in juvenile court and the adult protective services agency in probate court. Brode was in commercial banking now under the name Chase Bank for eight years and finished his career as branch manager for Huntington Bank.

Brode received his bachelors and masters in business at Kent State University and attended University of Akron for law school.

Why should I care?: If elected, Brode promised he would continue to protect families, protect children and keep a tight budget as their judge. For most of Brode’s legal career, he has been working with the juvenile and probate court, handling child abuse and neglect cases in Portage County.

Message to KSU Students: “The experience that I have—almost 24 years as lawyer—has been spent in the juvenile/ probate courts in Portage County. My entire life has been spent in this county, my entire career legal has been spent in the juvenile and probate courts. I spent 11 years as a judicial officer in that court. I’ve heard the cases from behind the bench, and I am now responsible for presenting the case to the court in front of the bench. I know the juvenile and probate court, inside and out.