Magistrates

 

Chief Magistrate Margaret Scott

Chief Magistrate Margaret Scott has over 25 years of legal experience and after resolving hundreds of cases as an assistant prosecuting attorney, she was appointed as Magistrate in December of 2018 and promoted to Chief Magistrate on January 1, 2020. She serves the families of Summit County by conducting proceedings and making decisions on important matters including temporary orders, child support, custody and domestic violence/dating violence civil protection orders. After graduating in 1990 from Marshall University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts,  she obtained her law degree from the Ohio Northern University Petit College of Law in 1994.

Chief Magistrate Scott is a graduate of Class XI of the Child and Family Leadership Exchange and is an active member of our community. She currently serves on the Boards of Akron Summit Community Action and the Barberton Noon Kiwanis. She is a member of the Summit County Opiate Task Force, the Akron Bar Association Foundation, the Ohio Association of Magistrates, the Copley Fairlawn Parent Teacher Student Association, and many other community organizations. As a member of Montrose Zion United Methodist Church she volunteers with the children’s ministry in addition to serving on the staff parish relations committee. She also enjoys presenting throughout the community on different topics impacting our families including grandparents’ rights.

Chief Magistrate Scott received the 2006 Summit County High Point Award and the 2014 Rape Crisis Center of Summit and Medina Counties’ Prosecutor of the Year Award. When not working with families or volunteering, Chief Magistrate Scott enjoys golf, traveling, cooking, reading, gardening and spending time with family and friends.  She lives in Copley with her son who attends Copley Fairlawn Middle School.

 

Stabler Magistrate Rhonda Stabler

Magistrate Rhonda Stabler came to the Domestic Relations Court on April 3, 2000 and was appointed as Chief Magistrate in December, 2018 serving in that role through 2019.   Magistrate Stabler received an Associates of Criminal Justice Degree from the University of Akron in 1982, and was the recipient of several scholarships and academic awards.  She received a Bachelor of Political Science degree from the University of Akron in 1984, and her Juris Doctorate in 1987.  While attending the University of Akron, Magistrate Stabler served as a research assistant for Professor Jacques Beguin from Paris, France and for Congressman John F. Seiberling from Akron, Ohio and was also Vice Justice of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.

Magistrate  Stabler served as a legal intern for the City of Akron Department of Law from 1986, until 1988, and worked as an Assistant Director of Law in the Civil Division from 1988, until 1992.  Magistrate Stabler served as an Assistant City Prosecutor in Akron from 1992, until 1997, when she took over the duties as the Special Domestic Violence Prosecutor and created the Domestic Violence Unit in 1998, by applying for and receiving grant money from VAWA.   During her tenure in the Akron City Prosecutors Office she litigated numerous cases and worked closely with victims, victim advocates and the police department, and was the recipient of an Award of Appreciation from the Akron Crime Clinic, Inc.  for her distinguished service in the community.

Magistrate Stabler has served as the Secretary for the Summit County Domestic Violence Coalition since 2000.

 

gui-webMagistrate Janice Gui

Family Law has become the focus of Magistrate Janice Gui’s professional life. But it wasn’t always so.  First she detoured into the field of mathematics.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in math at Barnard College in New York City. She then became a homemaker.  She married and had three children.  She stayed at home with the children for 11 years.

After her children were all in school Magistrate Gui embarked on her legal career by enrolling in night classes at the law school of the University of Akron.  She eventually became an editor of the Law Review and obtained her J.D. in 1978.

After she became licensed, Magistrate Gui worked at Legal Aid for 12 years.  She represented low-income people in many different arenas, but especially in the Domestic Relations Court.  She was a managing attorney for the family law unit.

In 1991 Magistrate Gui came to the Domestic Relations Court, first as a referee and then as a magistrate.  She hears all general docket matters assigned to magistrates– motions for temporary orders, post-judgment matter, and domestic violence cases.

In addition to her work at the court, Magistrate Gui likes to speak about family law at the local schools and other groups.  She also enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her four grandsons.  Italy is her favorite place to go (all that wonderful food, after all!)  She also loves to camp at the seashore.

 

 

 

CollinsMagistrate Stephan B. Collins

Magistrate Stephan Collins was born in Iowa and later came to Akron.  He is a graduate from Buchtel High School.  He served in the United States Coast Guard as a navigator.  Thereafter he attended the OhioStateUniversity where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History and then enrolled in the University of San Francisco Law School.  While attending USF he served as staff for the Admiralty Moot Court and an editor of the USF Maritime Law Journal.  Magistrate Collins completed his Juris Doctorate at the DrakeUniversityLawSchool in Des Moines, Iowa in 1997, where he also served as a research assistant on agriculture and the law.

Magistrate Collins brings to the Domestic Relations Court a rich and varied set of life experiences.  While living in Santa Barbara, California he served as a job coach for developmentally disabled adults; a volunteer mediator in domestic and civil cases; a policy research intern to the Santa Barbara County Supervisors; a judicial intern in the Federal District Court of Minnesota; and a real estate law instructor for the Ohio School of Real Estate Studies.  Magistrate Collins has also worked as a private practice attorney in Ohio with a focus on domestic relations practice and is a legal instructor at the Academy of Court Reporting in Akron.

Magistrate Collins joined the Summit County Domestic Relations Court as a judicial attorney in 2000, becoming a Magistrate in 2001.  His primary non-work interests are his family, WWII history and cooking.

 

KlecknerMagistrate Janet L. Kleckner

Magistrate Janet Kleckner’s professional life has been linked to domestic relations law for many years.  After graduating from CornellLawSchool in 1980 she worked for a legal aid office in Long Island, NY.  In 1983 her family moved to Ohio, where she joined the legal aid office that served Summit, Portage and MedinaCounties.  Shortly after her arrival there she became the managing attorney for the Medina office, where she handled a variety of cases, including domestic relations matters.  In 1991 she became a domestic relations Referee (later renamed Magistrate) for the Medina court.  Then in January 2001 she had the good fortune to come to Summit County Domestic Relations Court. 

In addition to working with families who have matters pending before the court, Magistrate Kleckner enjoys speaking to parent groups and other organizations that have an interest in family law.

Magistrate Kleckner is married and has three children.  Her favorite recreational activities include bicycling, reading, skiing and gardening.

 

HeimbaughMagistrate Rebecca DiDonato Heimbaugh

A life long resident of Akron, Ohio, Rebecca DiDonato Heimbaugh is a graduate of the Akron Public Schools.  Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications and Journalism from Kent State University.  While working full-time in the private sector,  Rebecca attended and graduated from University of Akron School of Law.

With a keen interest for families, children and community and as a strong advocate for public education, Rebecca was elected to and served as a member of the Akron Board of Education from 2002-2005. She also served as a Trustee on the Ohio School Board Association for two years.

Rebecca has been with the Court since 2003.   She is a member of the Ohio Magistrates Association and Ohio Women’s Bar Association.  She is certified to practice in Federal Court as well as the Federal Court of Claims.  Rebecca is also a National Association of Parliamentarian certified parliamentarian, and a former basketball official.  She has appeared on Fox Network News, Lester Holt show regarding privacy rights for students. She has also been a guest on the Jon Stewart Show.

Rebecca has been and continues to be very active in her community and with a number of organizations.  She is an avid sports fan, particularly enjoying  football and baseball.

 

 

Magistrate Cheryl Wear

Cheryl Wear was born and raised in Cuyahoga Falls and has been a resident of West Akron for the past 18 years. She graduated from Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, Ohio) in 1982 where she was active in sports and drama.  Cheryl continued her education at Duke University, then transferred to the University of Akron where she earned a B.A. in Economics, a Masters in Economics, and a JD/MBA(Marketing). Cheryl was admitted to the Bar in Ohio in 1992, and to the Bar of the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, in 2009.

After law school, Cheryl spent two and a half years at the Ohio Eleventh District Court of Appeals as Judicial Attorney to Judge Donald R. Ford (now deceased). After her time with Judge Ford, she served for four years as a Trust Officer at Key Bank in the Employee Benefits Division where she drafted and administered institutional retirement plans governed by ERISA.  While at Key Bank, Cheryl received the Key Bank Achievement of Excellence Award.  Following her time at Key Bank, she served almost five years as Judicial Law Clerk to U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marilyn Shea-Stonum in Akron.  Cheryl then took her bankruptcy experience to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Collections Enforcement Division, where she served for two years representing the State of Ohio in bankruptcy proceedings throughout the United States. Following her time with the Ohio Attorney General, Cheryl returned to the Ohio Eleventh District Court of Appeals to serve as Judicial Attorney to Judge Thomas R. Wright. Cheryl joined Judge Katarina Cook at the Akron Municipal Court in August, 2015, as her Judicial Attorney, and followed Judge Cook to the Summit County Domestic Relations Court in the same capacity in January, 2017.

Cheryl has been active in the community throughout her professional life. She was a member of the Cuyahoga Falls Rotary Club, served for seven years on the Chapel Hill Christian School Board of Education, and spent four years on the Alumni Advisory Board of Western Reserve Academy. Currently, Cheryl is a volunteer at St. Thomas Hospital’s Ignatia Hall. Cheryl is also active in her church, Christ Community Chapel where she has been involved in the music ministry and currently serves as a volunteer for the RESTORE Addiction Recovery Ministry.

Outside of work, Cheryl loves to sing and play the piano. In 1989, she toured throughout Europe for six months with the Continental Singers. She is married to Michael, also an attorney, and has two children in college. Cheryl is an avid fan of the Cleveland Indians and the University of Akron men’s basketball team.

 

Magistrate Maureen Foley

Bio coming soon

 

Magistrate Scot Stevenson

Magistrate Scot Stevenson graduated from the University of Akron Honors College in 1988 and obtained his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1992. While at the University of Akron, he worked for Judge Bill Spicer in the Summit Count Probate Court.  After graduating from law school he was a staff attorney/judicial law clerk for Judge John Reece of the Ninth District Court of Appeals.

After working at the Ninth District Court of Appeals, Magistrate Stevenson began a career in the private practice of law. Initially he practiced in Barberton, Ohio.   In 2000 he joined a legal practice in Akron and practiced there until appointed as a Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge in 2016.  In private practice, Magistrate Stevenson, practiced in the areas of general civil litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  He had an extensive experience in appellate practice and argued before local Courts of Appeal and the Ohio Supreme Court.  Three times he received the Volunteer Legal Services Program’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his work and dedication representing low income citizens of Summit County.  He also has served as the Law director for Twinsburg Township from 2011 until his appointment to the bench.  He was appointed as a Magistrate of the Domestic Relations Court in January 2017.

While maintaining his law practice, Judge Stevenson also held a number of positions to prepare himself for service as a Magistrate. In 1996 he was appointed a Magistrate in the Barberton Municipal Court hearing small claims and traffic matters.  After serving there for two years, he was appointed a hearing officer for the State of Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles hearing disputes between automobile dealers and manufacturers.  Lastly, from 2011 until 2014 he served as a Magistrate in the Cuyahoga Falls Mayor’s Court hearing traffic and criminal matters.

Magistrate Stevenson also has served our Community over the last two decades. He has been a member and chairperson of both the Barberton Public Library and the Akron Law Library Boards.  He served on the Summit County Facilities Review Board, a Board which examines and reports on local prisons and Community Based Correctional Facilities.  He was a member and Vice-President of the Barberton Area Salvation Army advisory board.  Serving these organizations has been a source of pride and accomplishment for Magistrate Stevenson over the years.

Magistrate Stevenson was born and raised in Summit County. He has been married to his wife, Diana Stevenson, for over twenty years and is a proud parent of Joshua and Alexander Stevenson.

 

Magistrate Diane Dougherty

Magistrate Diane L. Dougherty was raised in Stark County, Ohio and graduated from Perry High School in 1978. In 1982, she graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She graduated from the University of Akron, School of Law in 1988 and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in May 1988.

Prior to graduation from law school, she worked as a paralegal with Amer, Cunningham, Brennan, Co., LPA and as a Bailiff for the Honorable Judge W. Don Reader in the Stark County Family Court. Diane was engaged in private practice for 28 years with an emphasis on criminal defense in the Federal and State systems, juvenile, domestic relations, civil litigation and bankruptcy matters.  She also served as a GAL  in both Stark and Summit Counties, a Mediator for Summit County Juvenile Court and served on the Stark County Family Court’s Citizens’  Review Board for several years.  From January 2006 to January 2016, she served as a part-time magistrate in the Medina Municipal Court.  In February 2016, she joined the Summit County Common Pleas Court, General Division as a full-time Magistrate, Mediator and Judicial Attorney.  She joined the Summit County Domestic Relations Court in March of 2017.  She is a member of the Ohio Association of Magistrates, the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges and the American Bar Association.

In her spare time, Diane enjoys all types of sports, especially golf and swimming. She also enjoys singing and spending time with her Mother, her personal Chef and her two black Labradors.

 

Magistrate Christopher Snyder

Bio coming soon

 

Magistrate Cara Ford

Magistrate Ford is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor in English. She obtained her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University Of Akron School Of Law and has bar admissions to the Ohio State Bar, United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

Magistrate Ford has previous experience working for Judge Brenda Burnham-Unruh in Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Child Support Enforcement Agency as a Hearing Officer and as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Akron. Most recently, she was in private practice with a focus on criminal defense, juvenile issues, and evictions for two apartment complexes.  For over 5 years, she was a Guardian ad Litem and volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. Additionally, while maintaining her private law practice, she was the crossroads attorney for Summit County Juvenile Court where she represented juveniles who had abuse / dependence problems and mental health issues.

Magistrate Cara Ford came to Domestic Relations Court in May of 2019.

Magistrate Ford is married with two children. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, and The House of the Lord where she volunteers in the nursery and marriage ministry.

 

Magistrate Deborah Grey Loving

Bio coming soon