MOUNT VERNON — A Knox County judge absent from work for five months and recently charged with driving under the influence has given notice of her intention to leave the bench.

Knox County Juvenile and Probate Judge Jennifer Springer submitted a letter of retirement, effective Oct. 1, 2018, to the Ohio Supreme Court Thursday. Springer does not give a reason for the retirement in the letter.

Joshua Morrison/News Judge Jennifer Springer, Knox County Juvenile Court.

Judge Jennifer Springer, Knox County Juvenile Court.

Springer was contacted by the News to clarify whether the retirement was from the practice of law or as judge from the juvenile probate court. The Ohio judicial codes allow for a process that an attorney may use to retire from the practice of law.

Springer said she is merely retiring as judge, and that her law license is intact and active. She declined further comment.

The letter comes a month after Springer was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The OVI arrest occurred July 29, while Springer was on medical leave from the bench. Springer requested a leave of absence due to unspecified medical reasons in April and has been out since.

Springer has pleaded not guilty to the OVI charge. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Springer was elected in 2014 to a six-year term that began Feb. 9, 2015 and ends Feb. 8, 2021, according to the Knox County Board of Elections.

Finding a replacement for Springer will begin with the Knox County Republican Party Central Committee, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich will have the final say.

Knox County Republican Party Chair Chip McConville said the central committee will make a list of three possible candidates for judge, which will then be sent along to the governor’s office. The governor may choose one of the three candidates for the position, or appoint a candidate of his own.

The list of candidates is not public record. The meeting where the list will be formed will not be public, McConville said.

The meeting will be scheduled sometime after Springer’s effective resignation date.

McConville said there are interested parties for the job. To be qualified, the applicant must be an attorney who has practiced law for at least six years and resides in Knox County, McConville said.

McConville declined comment when asked by the News if Springer has appeared before the Republican Party’s executive committee to discuss the matter.

The juvenile and probate court docket has been covered by visiting judges James Ronk and Ken Spicer, who were appointed by the Supreme Court to fill in during Springer’s absence from April 2 to the present. Court Administrator Diane Randall said the court will continue to operate with Ronk and Spicer in the interim.

“Procedure-wise, we’re continuing on like we have been,” Randall said. “We’re running very efficiently.”

Randall declined to comment on whether Springer has spoken to her about the resignation.

 

Nick Sabo: 740-397-5333 or nsabo@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

 

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