Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy began her career in justice as a police officer at the Hamilton Police Department.
Her experiences ran the gamut of single-officer road patrol to undercover operations while working as a peace officer.
Kennedy, later, as a civil assistant, aided in drafting police policy and procedure for the Accreditation Program.
Upon completing and obtaining her juris doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Kennedy ran a small business as a solo practitioner. Her practice served the legal needs of families, juveniles, and the less fortunate.
As special counsel for then-Attorney General Betty Montgomery, Kennedy fought on behalf of Ohio’s taxpayers to collect monies due the state.
As a part-time magistrate in the Butler County Area Courts, Kennedy presided over a wide array of civil litigation and assisted law enforcement officers and private citizens seeking the issuance of criminal warrants for arrest.
Prior to her term on the state’s high court, Kennedy served at the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division beginning in 1999, serving as the administrative judge of the division from 2005 until December 2012.
During her tenure as administrative judge, Kennedy improved the case management system to ensure the timely resolution of cases for families and children.
Additionally, she worked with state legislators to develop a “common sense” family-law initiative to reduce multiple-forum litigation for Butler County families.
During the Great Recession, when Butler County, like many other Ohio counties, faced tough economic times, Kennedy organized concerned elected officials in a countywide Budget Work Group, modeling the expertise of private sector financial practices.
In her capacity on the advisory committee of the group, Kennedy served as facilitator and led discussions between county officials and private sector leaders to analyze county finances, study and implement cost saving measures, and present business-driven fiscal policy to the county commissioners.
Kennedy was re-elected to a full term on the Supreme Court Nov. 4, 2014. The 154th justice of the Supreme Court, she first joined the court in 2012, having been elected, defeating incumbent Yvette McGee Brown, to fill an unexpired term.
Throughout her career, Kennedy has served on numerous boards, developed and facilitated programs to address the needs of young people, and worked with judges across the state.
Her current term ends Dec. 31, 2020.
A biography published by the Ohio Supreme Court was used to supplement this story.