Search About Newsletters Donate
Portrait of Tim Hess
View all

Tim Hess

Candidate insights
  • Says the court's probation department should work to get probationers into local trade unions.
  • Youngest of five children.
Sitting Judge?
Middleburg Heights
Admitted to practice law in Ohio
Previous jobs
Private practice (criminal)

You asked. They answered.

Tim Hess' responses to questions from the community.

As a judge, one tool you have is discretion. In one or two sentences, how will you use it?

In Ohio, Judges have a wide latitude of discretion when it comes to felony sentencing. I believe every case is different and each defendant should be treated on a case-by-case basis when it comes to sentencing.

How would you keep your own biases and personal beliefs in check when deciding cases involving people of different races, economic or social backgrounds, identities or life experiences?

Under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Ohio, all men are created equal. Additionally, Lady Justice wears a blindfold to signify that justice is blind. The color of your skin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or socioeconomic background has no place in the courtroom. Everyone is to be treated equally under the law.

In recent years, Cuyahoga has made reforms to its bail system and reduced reliance on cash bail. Have they gone too far or not far enough? Why?

I believe in some instances they have gone too far. Too often we hear of a violent offender being released on a low bond only to get back out into the community and commit another heinous crime of violence. Community safety needs to take priority when setting bond/bail.

Should judges be elected? Why or why not? If not, how do you think judges should be chosen?

I have some conflicting ideas as to the election of judges versus appointment. If judges were to be appointed, I believe it should be done by a council formed from the electorate such as lawyers and various elected officials from both parties. I do not believe that if judges are to be appointed, that it should be done by the executive branch, particularly the administration of one executive office.

Cuyahoga County has programs to give people a chance to avoid conviction and jail for certain crimes. How well do you think these programs work? Would you like to see any other kinds of programs?

I believe in certain circumstances these programs are successful and a valuable asset to the court, the community, and to the defendant. The mental health court implemented in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas has come a long way, and like many other things in our system, it can always be improved. I would like to implement a system through our probation department that finds low level offenders and persons charged with drug crimes a job in our community. Cleveland is well known for being a union town. I would like to see our courts and probation department work with local unions to find probationers jobs within the unions and trades.

How would you grapple with handing down a decision that would upset a victim or their family, or a defendant or their family?

First and foremost, a conversation should be had with an aggrieved family of a victim as to why the decisions that were made were necessary. That goes the same way for the family of an offender who may receive a lengthy prison sentence. An acceptable explanation to the family of the defendant may help them understand the decisions that were made by the Court.