Judgment day nears for judicial candidates

LISBON — Two Republican attorneys will vie on May 7 for a chance to run for the seat of Columbiana County Municipal Court Judge in November.

Vito Abruzzino and Katelyn Dickey have taken different routes on the path as both run as conservative candidates for the seat being vacated by retiring Judge Mark Frost.

“The punishment should fit the crime, but while laws are universal you do have to analyze and look at the situation and apply it in both a punitive and rehabilitative way,” Abruzzino said.

“I’m going to follow the law,” Dickey said. “I will stick to the Constitution. I will treat everyone fairly. I will be tough on criminals. My main goal is to keep everyone safe.”

Dickey is a Crestview High School graduate who was a staff attorney under Common Pleas Court Judges David Tobin, C. Ashley Pike and Scott Washam before being appointed domestic relations magistrate in March 2018. She was replaced at the end of the year following the 2018 election and then was hired in January as an assistant county prosecutor, where she serves in East Liverpool Municipal Court. Dickey also has experience as a probation officer.

Abruzzino grew up in Trumbull County, with a long military law career serving with both the Army from 2000-2017 and most recently with the Air Force Reserves. About seven years ago he moved to the Salem area, where his wife grew up, to raise their daughter. He currently is a partner with the law firm of Harrington, Hoppe and Mitchell, where he does domestic, probate cases and criminal defense.

Abruzzino said his father served in the Army during the Vietnam era and Abruzzino began his military boot camp right after high school. He said he has always been drawn to public service, spending much of his time in the military conducting trials and being a part of community level prosecution and defense, dealing with cases ranging from murder to disorderly conduct. Additionally, he has certification in forensic evidence and advance trial litigation from the National Advocacy Center.

“Its been high frequency, high tempo litigation practice from the time I graduated from law school due to the nature of the JAG Corps,” Abruzzino said, noting in military justice the commanders make a decision whether a deal will be made and there are a high number of trials because of it. He served as a senior level public defender with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps with three junior attorneys working for him. He is serving as director of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission.

Dickey also said she has always worked toward a career in the public service field, serving in many roles in the Columbiana County courts since her graduation from law school.

Additionally, as someone born and raised in Columbiana County, Dickey said she knows this community and the resources available to help people here. She uses that knowledge and wants to continue from the bench to use local resources to help people any way she can. She has issued civil protection orders.

Dickey said between she and Abruzzino she is the one with judicial experience, making the tough decisions from the bench affecting people. She served about 10 months as a magistrate in Common Pleas Court when former magistrate Kathleen Bartlett was appointed as a judge in the Seventh District Court of Appeals.

She points out she also knows what it means to work hard. Prior to that as a staff attorney for eight years, Dickey worked with the judges on countless civil, criminal, administrative appeals and domestic relations case.

“I can vouch for my work ethic,” Dickey said. “The person who sits on the bench needs to work hard and be fair.”



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