Judge Hamilton receives 2 awards/takes on new roles
Legal News Reporter
Published: June 2, 2023
It’s been an eventful year for Akron Municipal Court Judge David Hamilton, who began serving as administrative/presiding judge in January.
Along with his new duties on the bench, he’s also taken on two key roles outside the court and received two prestigious accolades, including the Akron Bar Association’s Diversity Award, which was presented to him on May 3 during the annual Law Day Luncheon at Greystone Hall.
The award pays tribute to a business, organization or individual that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion in Summit County, including establishing a consistent pattern of recruitment, retention and promotion of individuals from underrepresented populations; cultivating and promoting diversity initiatives that foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment and utilizing leadership skills to confront and resolve inequities through a variety of measures and techniques.
“We’re excited by the breadth of diversity and inclusion efforts led by Judge Hamilton both before and after he joined the Akron Municipal Court bench,” said Akron Bar Association Executive Director C. Allen Nichols. “The totality of those efforts clearly fulfills the criteria of the award.”
“I was very honored to receive the Diversity Award,” said Judge Hamilton. “The Akron Bar Association is very active in the legal community, and the fact that they recognized me for my work in improving equality and inclusion in the justice system is truly an honor.”
Also honored during the luncheon were Liberty Bell Award Winner 9th District Court of Appeals Administrative Judge Jennifer Hensal and Public Service Award recipient Dr. Doug Smith, chief clinical officer (medical director) and forensic psychiatrist at the Summit County ADM (Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services) Board.
Less than a week before, Judge Hamilton received the Judge Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award in Law.
Sponsored by the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church of Akron, the Harold K. Stubbs Award pays tribute to those who have made significant contributions in areas such as social action, government, business, medicine and law.
The awards program honors Stubbs, a former Akron Municipal Court judge and the city’s first Black law director, who passed away in 1989. Stubbs was very involved in the church which, since his death has recognized individuals on an annual basis for their community efforts with these awards.
The 33rd annual ceremony took place virtually on April 28.
“Our committee does not select recipients, they select themselves by their actions and achievements,” said attorney Charles L. Greene, general chairperson for the Harold K. Stubbs program.
“In Judge Hamilton’s case, he’s gone above and beyond what was required in every position he’s held, creating special programming or projects that will help stimulate and encourage others to excel in their lives,” Greene said.
“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was the recipient of this prestigious award,” said Judge Hamilton. “Looking at the list of awardees past and present, I’m in great company.
“I am proud to serve my hometown and I take my job very seriously,” said Judge Hamilton. “Being a good role model to the next generation is important to me. I love what I do, but it is truly an honor to know that my hard work has been recognized.”
Since taking the bench on Dec. 5, 2019, Judge Hamilton has unveiled two court-sponsored programs, including COMPASS (Compassion, Opportunity, Mentoring, Purpose, Achievement, Success, Stepping forward) and Raising the Bar, which was created in partnership with Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro’s Office.
Unveiled on Nov. 2, 2020, COMPASS provides an alternative to jail for men between the ages of 18 and 36 under the jurisdiction of the Akron Municipal Court who’ve recently become involved in the criminal justice system.
Raising the Bar kicked off in October 2022 as a pilot program designed to expose minority high school students to the legal profession and the many different career opportunities within it.
In addition to those programs, during his time as Summit County Council District 5 representative, he partnered with the Akron Urban League and Emmanuel Christian Academy to start MY-STARS Summer Youth Enrichment Camp for rising sixth- to eighth-grade students.
The free camp teaches students entrepreneurship, financial literacy and public speaking skills.
In 2022, Judge Hamilton received the Akron Urban League’s Rising Star Award.
A graduate of Leadership Akron’s Class 34 and a recipient of the Greater Akron Chamber’s 30 for the Future Award, Judge Hamilton currently serves on the board of the Akron Zoo and ArtsNow, which seeks to strengthen Summit County by advancing its arts and cultural assets and building connections between arts and culture and the broader community.
Judge Hamilton is running for re-election to the Akron Municipal Court bench.
In addition to the awards, Judge Hamilton was appointed to a three-year term on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, after being nominated by Justice Melody Stewart.
Composed of five judges, six attorneys, two law school administrators or faculty and two others not admitted to practice law in any state, the commission is charged with monitoring and coordinating professionalism efforts and activities in Ohio courts, bar associations, law schools and other entities along with promoting and sponsoring endeavors that emphasize and build on the ideals. In addition, members also oversee efforts in jurisdictions outside Ohio.
Other duties include developing educational materials that enhance professionalism for use by judicial organizations, bar associations, law schools and other entities; assisting in the creation of law school orientation programs and curricula, new lawyer training and continuing education courses; making recommendations to the Supreme Court and other legal bodies on ways to increase professionalism and overseeing and administering a mentoring program for lawyers recently admitted to the bar.
“I was very surprised when I received the call from Justice Melody Stewart,” said Judge Hamilton, whose term runs from Jan 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2025. “When she told me the news I was extremely excited about the opportunity and very honored.
“Given that I already have a lot on my plate, including running my re-election campaign, I gave it some thought and prayed on it before I accepted to make sure I would be able to devote the amount of time necessary.”
Judge Hamilton is serving on the commission’s judicial committee, which held its first meeting on June 2.
In March, it was announced that the judge was selected to take part in Leadership Ohio’s 2023 class.
During the eight-month program, Judge Hamilton and the other 34 Fellows who were chosen will attend intensive sessions that explore critical questions, challenges and opportunities for residents in the state.
The fellows will develop Ohio Impact Projects that address key issues, with the goal of implementing positive lasting changes.
In a press release, Lisa Duty, Ph.D., executive director of Leadership Ohio stated, “We are excited to welcome the Class of 2023 to Leadership Ohio.
“These distinguished individuals are part of a growing network of change-makers and innovators who are on the leading edge of solutions for a future-driven Ohio.”
Upon graduation, fellows are inducted into Leadership Ohio’s alumni network.
“I am honored to be a part of this year’s Leadership Ohio class,” said Judge Hamilton.
“This is an exciting opportunity to get more involved with statewide issues that impact every citizen in Ohio. I enjoy learning from others and their journeys and I look forward to connecting with leaders who represent various counties throughout our state.”