Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Medina 70°

Local Medina County News

ELECTION 2018: Domestic Relations Court judge touts experience, opponent talks upgrades

  • Medina-County-Domestic-Relations-Court-judge
  • Heidi-Carroll
  • Mary-Kovack

Judge Mary Kovack, running for re-election as Medina County Domestic Relations Court judge, is banking on her experience to sway voters on Nov. 6.

She is running against Republican candidate Heidi Carroll, who doesn’t have the experience of her opponent in the race. However, Carroll said it’s time for a change.



Heidi Carroll (challenger)
  • Party: Republican
  • Education: Graduated from Buckeye High School, received an undergraduate degree from Benedictine University and a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Family: Single with one child
  • Job history: Carroll has been an attorney since 2002. She currently works as a compliance attorney at Cleveland Clinic and Akron General Hospital. Her past experience includes a stint as an associate attorney with the Reminger Law Firm in Cleveland and a private law practice attorney in Medina County.
  • Web site:

She is critical of the way Kovack, a Democrat, handles her docket. Carroll said when a court fails to act in a timely manner, it can be detrimental to the lives of individuals and their children. She said she will promptly enforce both support and visitation orders.

“The delay of justice is not appropriate,” she said.

“Our domestic court is in desperate need of improvement. Emergency motions are filed and never heard. Requests for people with mental health for a trial, a motion is filed and never heard.”

Carroll said Medina County has $48 million due in back child support to parents and taxpayers.

“This is not a number that is acceptable,” Carroll said. “I will work with the prosecutor with the Back on Track program and help remove that barrier.”

She wants to utilize technology to cut costs and improve online court access. She wants dockets to be accessed online.

“This is 2018,” Carroll said. “Transparency (is important).”

Kovack said in 2017, the court handled 4,006 cases, the largest docket in the county.

“In my 18 years as a judge, I completed 56,000 cases,” Kovack said. “I think experience matters.”

She was previously president of the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges and the Medina County Bar Association and taught at the Ohio Judicial College.

“I think leadership matters, and community involvement also matters,” Kovack said.



Mary Kovack (incumbent)
  • Party: Democrat
  • Education: Received a bachelor’s of arts degree from the College of Wooster and a law degree cum laude from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law
  • Family: One son, a music education student at Wittenberg University in Springfield
  • Job history: Kovack was first elected to the domestic relations court in 2000, was re-elected in the 2006 and 2012 and currently has 18 years of experience as a judge. Prior to election, she was a former Medina County assistant prosecutor, maintained private practice dedicated to family law, and served as a judicial attorney.
  • Web site:

The Medina resident said she is an advocate of giving families the tools to solve their differences before they even walk into the courtroom.

“Once people get into the courtroom, words matter,” she said. “The things they say to each other and at each other can never be taken back and it affects families forever. I’m proud of our team at the courthouse and want to continue this important work for the community.”

When Carroll filed to run as a judge, a protest was filed, which questioned whether she had the necessary six years of legal experience to run, as required under the Ohio Revised Code.

“Those protests are nothing more than poorly disguised attacks against me by Judge Kovack’s own employees and supporters, who are afraid that Judge Kovack will not be re-elected on her dismal record unless she runs unopposed,” Carroll said in a statement in February.

Kovack referred all questions regarding the protest to her attorney Pat Walker, of Walker & Jocke in Medina.

“The judge is not a party to this,” she said previously.

Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled in March that Carroll met the statutory requirements to run for judge.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or

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