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Justice Judith Lanzinger Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-316

Scope and Contents

The collection is organized into seven series as follows:

Series 1: Court of Common Pleas, 1988-2002 Contains cases that she heard as a Judge for the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas from 1989-1997, including Capital Cases. This series includes one of the most important cases of her career, State v. Madrigal. Also contains her personal trial notes for individual cases from 1989-1999. Series 2: Appellate Court, 2002-2004 Consists of Judge Assignments from 2002-2004, which were the cases assigned to her to preside over. This series also has individual case documents that Lanzinger heard from 2003-2004. The cases are listed with Case Title, Case Number, and the date each was decided. Series 3: The Supreme Court, 2003-2016 Subseries A: Cases, 2003-2016 Contains all of the cases she heard as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio with dates ranging from 2003-2016. These are listed with the Case Title and then the Case Number (formatted as “Year-Case Number.”) Subseries B: Cases with Research Subseries C: Cases Argued and Pending & Decisions and Opinions Subseries D: Oral Cases Contains assignments of the cases that Lanzinger – and other Justices – heard in the courtroom. Subseries E: Merit Opinions Merit Opinions (which are the Justices of the Supreme Courts opinions on the case), and Subseries F: Oral Argument Previews Oral Argument Previews (which are the previews for the oral argument she would hear in the courtroom) for the years ranging between 2003 and 2016. Subseries G: Vote Sheets Lastly, this series contains the Vote Sheets (which are how the Justices that heard the case voted for the case) for the years 2003-2016. Series 4: Teaching Materials, Contains the materials she used to teach her classes through The National Judicial College such as lecture slides, mock trials, and example cases. This series also contains class rosters and schedules for her classes at The National Judicial College. Series 5: Professional Writings and Publications Consists of all of her materials from the Style Manual Committee. The Style Manual is a way for those working in the judicial system (such as lawyers and judges) to properly make citations and write opinions. The subseries for the Style Manual was kept in the original order in which it was received. Other writings by Lanzinger included in this series are the Senate Bill 2, which is a congressional bill that reformed the sentencing terms of convicted felons in Ohio. She worked on the Senate Bill 2 while she was serving on the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas. Series 6: Professional Activities Contains a number of things that Justice Lanzinger did outside of the courtroom. Includes her work aboard in the Ukraine, programs she was involved with to help educate the public about the judicial system in Ohio, different organizations she was a part of throughout her career, and the many speeches she gave throughout her time on the bench (includes many commencement speeches).

Series 7: Awards and Photos Contains her many awards, degrees and photographs. Some of the photographs are in frames. Some of the awards, degrees and photographs are oversize.


  • 1988-2016

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials may be accessed by request at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, located on the fifth floor of the William S. Carlson Library on the main campus of the University of Toledo. Materials do not circulate.

Conditions Governing Use

In most cases, the Canaday Center does not own the copyright and literary rights to items in its collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to adhere to U.S. Copyright and Fair Use laws, including seeking permission from the copyright holder(s) and payment of any royalty fees, in the reproduction and use of archival materials.

Biographical / Historical

The Honorable Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger is the first person to serve as a judge on every level of the court system in the state of Ohio. She graduated from the University of Toledo in 1968, receiving her bachelor’s degree in education and English and the University of Toledo: College of Law in 1977, graduating as the Valedictorian of her class. After receiving her Juris Doctorate, Lanzinger practiced law for Toledo Edison and then as an Associate at Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick law firm.

In 1985, she was elected onto the Toledo Municipal Court. She volunteered to become Toledo’s first Housing Judge in 1988 and helped start the Housing Court. After two years, she became a Judge for the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, serving from 1988 to 2002. During her 14-year tenure for the Court of Common Pleas, she presided over more than 250 jury trials, heard 12 death penalty cases, and wrote over 1,000 opinions--170 published.

In 1990, Lanzinger joined the faculty of the National Judicial College, teaching courses on trial practice and winning an Award of Distinction from the College. In 1992, she obtained a Master’s degree in Judicial Studies from The University of Nevada-Reno and was the second woman in the US to earn a graduate degree in the field.

In 2002, Lanzinger ran for and won the position of Judge in the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals. She resided in this position for two years until 2004 when she was elected onto the Supreme Court of Ohio. Now Justice Judith A. Lanzinger, she served on the Supreme Court of Ohio for twelve years until she retired in 2016.

Lanzinger has long held a love of writing. She began a blog,, in 2010 to share, in her words, “simple, straightforward explanations of judicial concepts” with the public. She also taught courses on poetry for the National Judicial College. In 2012, Lanzinger chaired the committee that published the first Supreme Court Writing Manual for the state of Ohio – guidelines for writing court opinions.

Her successful career was marked by a number of awards which include:

• 1985: “Superior Judicial Service” Award, Ohio Supreme Court • 1988: “Women of Toledo” honoree named by St. Vincent Medical Auxiliary • 1988-1989: “Hall of Excellence” award, Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges • 1990-1992: Scholarships, National Judicial College to pursue Master in Judicial Studies • 1994: “Order of the Heel” Toledo Junior Bar • 1995: Arabella Mansfield Award, Toledo Women’s Bar Association • 2002: Award for Service to Judicial Education presented by Ohio Judicial College • 2003: Award for Service, Common Pleas Judges Association • 2011: Named to the Women’s Bar Foundation Leadership Institute Lanzinger was also a member of organizations such as The Toledo Bar Association, The Toledo Civil Service Commission, Ohio Judicial College and The Ohio State Bar Association. She served as president of the Morrison R. Waite American Inn of Court, which mentors young lawyers.

Reference: Supreme Court of Ohio, Former Justice Biographies:

In 2006, she wrote the decision in State vs. Foster that struck down portions of Ohio’s so-called “truth in sentencing” law, a decision that affected hundreds of sentencing cases. The decision preserved judicial discretion in sentencing decisions.

She also wrote the 2014 decision requiring police to first obtain a warrant before searching through a suspect’s cell phone.

Justice Lanzinger also has taken particular interest in cases involving home rule, the constitutional authority for local government self-rule.

She wrote the first decision upholding the authority of cities such as Toledo to operate automated red-light cameras.


19.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Justice Judith Lanzinger Papers, 1988-2016
Ally Morlock
August 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition

Repository Details

Part of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections Repository

2801 West Bancroft Street
William S. Carlson Library, Fifth Floor
Toledo Ohio 43606 United States