Robert Vaughn, professor of criminal justice at Cedarville, will be running for one of five judicial seats on the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals on Nov. 4. He will be challenging incumbent Democrat Jeffrey Froelich who has served on the court since 2009. The winner of this year’s election will assume office Feb. 9, 2015.
The Ohio Second District Court of Appeals is one of 12 appellate courts in Ohio and encompasses Clark, Champaign, Greene, Miami, Dark, and Montgomery counties.
Vaughn said, “The job of an appeals court judge (is) to review decisions of the lower courts and write opinions on whether the lower courts got it right.”
He said he believes his experience serving as a clerk under a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court has prepared him well to serve as an appellate judge.
Vaughn has practiced law for 16 years since graduating law school. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he spent several years as a clerk of the court where he realized his dream of becoming a judge. He went on to attend Capital University Law School where he received his Juris Doctor.
Although he entered law school hoping to become a judge, he said he knew he would have to work his way up first.
“Obviously you don’t go from graduating law school straight to the bench,” Vaughn said. “You have to get experience first. I’ve spent the last 16 trying to get the experience I need to make that transition.”
After law school, Vaughn spent ten years serving at the state government level. He started his career as an assistant to Ohio’s attorney general and went on to serve as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court of Ohio. He said he believes the experience and skills he learned there will be indispensable for serving as an appellate judge.
Vaughn came to Cedarville University after his time in state government where he has been teaching and assisting the general legal council for the past six years. At Cedarville he teaches courses on juvenile delinquency and the American judicial system.
Vaughn also practices private law on his own. He specializes in advocating for victims of domestic violence in connection with Project Women, a shelter for abused women in Springfield. Here, he helps victims navigate the legal processes to secure protection orders against their abusers. He is also a skilled mediator and guardian ad litem, meaning he has experience protecting the legal rights of minors, infants and other persons unable to represent themselves.
Vaughn is also an active member of his community. He is on the board of trustees at Emmanuel Christian School in Springfield where his four children go to school. Vaughn founded and also led the Cub Scout Pack, until his son moved on to Boy Scouts, in South Charleston, where he lives with his family. He is also active in his church’s ministries where he serves as an elder.
Vaughn is the father of two sons and two daughters ranging from eight to 15 years old. He grew up in the Cleveland area and has lived in the state his entire life.
On the importance of being a public servant, Vaughn said, “If anyone ever has thought about public office or seeking public office, they should do it.”
He says God commands us to be involved in our communities.
“It’s a unique opportunity to be out in the community around people who don’t necessarily share your values,” Vaughn said.
He said he believes people will witness how Christians handle themselves in public and conduct themselves differently.
Vaughn said campaigning has been hard, but he expected it to be. When campaigning across six counties, there are always events to attend, people to meet and emails requiring a response. He said campaigning is a tough sacrifice to make—especially when it means time away from family.
Vaughn said he has mostly been meeting with other Republican nominees and attending community forums. He said he tries to meet with as many constituents as he can by attending county fairs and by meeting with various police groups. Though he lacks the funding for television spots or radio advertisements, he said he will maintain a presence on social media.
UPDATE: Robert Vaughn lost the race for a seat on the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals to Jeffrey Froelich. Vaughn obtained 107, 510 votes, or 47.82 percent of the vote, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
Brandon Best is a freshman English major and writer for Cedars. He enjoys writing, life and all the seasons of the year.