Judge Kevin L. Greer announced Monday that he will seek a fifth term as judge of the Highland County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile and Probate Divisions.
Greer first took the bench on Feb. 9, 1997. During his first term, Greer developed a monthly driver’s improvement program for first time offenders, which was held on Saturday mornings. Greer, his probation department and members of the community traveled with juveniles and their parents to Columbus for the Scared Straight program. He started a community service program for delinquent and unruly youth that requires them to work throughout the county. Since 2010, youth in this program have covered 990 miles of road, recovering 4,668 bags of trash.
As a result of these programs, combined with the efforts of the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office and various law enforcement agencies, the number of traffic tickets filed in juvenile court decreased from 505 tickets in 1997 to 155 in 2018. In addition, the number of delinquent and unruly complaints decreased from 584 complaints in 1997 to 190 in 2018.
Unfortunately, the illicit drug epidemic has caused a drastic increase in Children Services cases. Since 2014, 814 cases have been filed in juvenile court alleging abuse, neglect or dependency. The vast majority of those cases involve a parent or parents abusing methamphetamine or opioids. In 2019 alone, 171 cases have been filed.
“To the extent permitted by law, I will continue to remove and protect children from an environment of drug addiction,” Greer said in a news release. “They will not be returned unless and until it is safe to do so, which ultimately requires parents to realign their priorities from illicit drug abuse to raising their children.”
Greer computerized the court in 1997, which resulted in the development of a system in probate court wherein legal counsel receive a monthly report of all cases pending with timelines for due dates. This system has resulted in a more efficient and timely resolution of probate actions.
During his first four terms, Greer also focused on enforcing parties’ financial obligations. Those who owe the court costs or fees are required to report on a regular schedule until their obligations are paid. As a result, more than $3,742,100 has been collected since 1997, helping fund not only the court but also the county government. The court collected $234,000 for repayment of indigent legal fees and paid $2,308,130 to the county general fund and miscellaneous costs. The court collected more than $234,000 in restitution to compensate victims.
Greer said he has been able to keep the expense of operating the court near 1998 levels in part by computerizing the office, cross-training employees and presiding over the majority of cases filed instead of appointing a magistrate to handle part of the caseload, a savings to the county he estimated to be more than $1,150,000 (or $50,000 per year over 23 years). Greer said he and his court staff have been able to keep the docket current with no cases past pending at year’s end during his first four terms as set forth by the time guidelines of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Greer has received special recognition from the Corrections Receptions Center for outstanding leadership to the youth of Central Ohio. He received the GLAD aware from the Highland County Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. The Ohio Educational Service Center recognized Greer for outstanding leadership in advancing the cause of the county school system and he received the Highland County Friend of Education Award from the Highland County Educational Service District Governing Board. Greer and his wife, Kristy, received the Friend of Center Award from the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center. Greer has participated as a mentor in the Ohio Supreme Court Judges Mentor Program.
Greer attended Fairfield High School and was inducted into the inaugural class of the Fairfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was inducted into the Highland County Sports Hall of Fame. Greer is a member of several civic organizations and a member of the Hillsboro First United Methodist Church.
Greer and his wife just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and are the proud parents and grandparents of two sons, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.
“It has been my honor to serve as Highland County Juvenile and Probate Judge since 1997,” Greer said. “It has and will continue to be my goal every day to treat each person that comes before the court with respect and each case with the importance and attention necessary to reach a just result. If afforded the privilege of another term, I will continue to serve ethically and address each case timely and impartially.”
Information for this story was provided by Kevin Greer.