Governor appoints lawyer to vacant judge seat

Joshua Hudson

Thursday is normally an important day for people at Kent State and in the Kent area. The work week is coming to an end and the weekend kicks off early for most students.

But Thursday will have a different meaning for William Nome. Nome, who has been serving as an attorney for Arthur, Nome & Associates, will officially be sworn in to take a spot on the Portage County Municipal Court. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at the Ravenna Courthouse in Judge John Enlow’s courtroom.

Nome, 53, will be taking over the position that was vacated by Judge Laurie Pittman. Pittman resigned after winning election to the Portage County Court of Common Pleas last November.

This also marks the second time in the past six months that an appointment has been made to the Portage County Municipal Courts. Barb Oswick was appointed in September to fill the roll left vacant by the death of Judge Donald Martell.

The swearing in will be the end of an exciting week for Nome. He was officially appointed to the position Wednesday by Gov. Bob Taft. Today he will be traveling to Columbus to sign paperwork that will be filed with the Secretary of State.

Nome said he now has six months to shut down his private practice and turn to being a judge full time. He said he is looking forward to his new career and a change of scenery.

“It will be a big change for me, but I am excited,” he said. “I get to use the experience that I have in a different way. I am anticipating that this will be a good move for me in the long run.”

Nome’s term will officially begin next Friday and will be the completion of Pittman’s leftover term. But his seat will be up for election in November, forcing him to run for election. Nome said he will look to be retained in the election.

“I told my wife that in a year she could be married to a judge or an out of work lawyer,” he said. “That’s a big difference, but she is behind me 100 percent.”

Mark Rickel, press secretary for the governor, said experience was an important factor when deciding on a candidate for an appointment.

Nome, who has been practicing law since 1976, said he has been serving as an acting judge for the past few years.

“I have sat in as an acting judge when some of the members have been doing other things,” he said. “So I have some experience but on a limited basis. I am just really excited and looking forward to this new challenge.”

The screening committee was set up by Norm Sandvoss, head of the Portage County Republican Party’s executive committee. The committee began interviewing interested applicants in January and submitted a list of choices to the governor’s committee. The committee then sent a list of names to the governor for the final selection.

Nome said the selection process involved “a lot of serious interviews and a ton of paperwork.”

Sandvoss said the selection of Nome is a excellent choice.

“He has a good demeanor, a military background and is well respected by judges and other attorneys,” he said. “I think he will do a fine job in the position.”

Contact public affairs reporter Joshua Hudson at [email protected].