Sarah Nation
Staff Attorney and Magistrate


Sarah is a graduate of Patrick Henry High School and the University of Toledo earning her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Economics.  After receiving her Bachelor's Degree, Sarah then attended the University of Toledo College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate.

Prior to accepting a position as Staff Attorney with the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, Sarah opened her own law practice in Ottawa County.  Sarah practices in the fields of bankruptcy law, business law, domestic relations, juvenile law, and criminal law.  In addition to her private practice and duties as the staff attorney, Sarah serves as the solicitor for the village of Rocky Ridge and as an attorney for UAW Legal Services. 

Sarah accepted the position of Staff Attorney with the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court in 2009.  As Staff Attorney, Sarah's duties include: performing legal research for the Court; preparing and researching various decisions at the request of the Judge; conducting case management conferences in various civil cases; assisting the Judge and jury during jury trials; preparation of local rules; and monitoring the flow of various civil and criminal cases.





John Py
Court Mediator

For a variety of reasons, John retired from the active practice of law on June 30, 1999 after 26 years. During such period of time, John was engaged principally in the defense of personal injury litigation which allowed him to practice in various common pleas courts and courts of appeals as well as the Supreme Court of Ohio. Following a few months of retirement, John applied for and was retained on October 1, 1999 as the initial in-house mediator for the common pleas courts of the counties of Ottawa, Huron, Sandusky and Seneca.

As the in-house mediator, pending civil litigation involving varied causes of action are referred to me for mediation. An overwhelming number of the mediations conducted to date have resulted in a full settlement and dismissal of the case. Such results are accomplished usually months in advance of the trial date and at considerable savings of both time and money for the litigants, their counsel and insurers, if any, and the court.

Having now participated in both the adversarial and mediation processes of resolving civil disputes, John is firmly convinced that mediation is the preferable method for resolving such conflicts.

Should you wish for any civil litigation in which you are involved to be referred for mediation I suggest you request to the court that such a referral be made.



James VanEerten
 Court Administrator

James VanEerten is a graduate of Buckeye Central High School in New Washington, Ohio and a graduate of University of Toledo, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Criminal Justice Administration.  After completing his Bachelor's Degree, James attended Capital University Law School earning his Juris Doctorate.  In 2008, James was licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio in 2008.

In 2008, James began a private practice in Ottawa County practicing the areas of criminal defense, domestic relations, real estate, and juvenile law.  James also started a title insurance company in Port Clinton, providing title insurance policies throughout Northwest Ohio.

In 2009 James accepted the position of Court Administrator with the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.  As Court Administrator, James has various duties including: managing and developing the Court's Budget; managing the Adult Probation Department Budget; managing and monitoring all Common Pleas Court Special Project funds; ensuring compliance with Supreme Court of Ohio guidelines; payroll; personnel and human resource issues; researching and writing grants; and serving as a public relations liaison for the Court.







Jane Held
Court Reporter

As a Registered Professional Reporter, my primary role is to create a voice-to-text translation of court proceedings via realtime hook-ups to Judge Winters and Staff Attorney Munoz from my Stenotype machine to their laptop computers.  Deaf or hard-of-hearing jurors and litigants can share my realtime screen. I prepare verbatim transcripts, when ordered, and can e-mail transcripts, provide condensed versions, all-word indexes and ASCII disks to ensure the end user receives an accurate, fast and reliable record.

A life-long resident of Ottawa County, I graduated from Clark Technical College with an Associate's Degree in Court/Conference Reporting Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree from Heidelberg College.  I served on the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial College's Court Personnel Education and Training Committee for over ten years, am an active member of the National and State Court Reporters Associations and the Steno CAT Users Network.



Kelly Lilie
Administrative Assistant


Kelly is a graduate of Port Clinton High School. Prior to coming to work for Ottawa County, Kelly worked for the Huntington National Bank for 19 ½ years.  Kelly held several different positions during her employment at the Bank and gained lots of valuable knowledge.  Kelly earned two diplomas from the American Institute of Banking, one in General banking and the other in Commercial lending.

 Kelly came to work for Ottawa County in August 2000, starting in the Clerk of Courts as a deputy clerk. Kelly began working for the Common Pleas Court in Feb. 2007, as the Administrative Assistant.

Kelly is responsible for scheduling court hearings and sending notices to attorneys and parties.  Other responsibilities include telephone communications, conference calls, dictation, preparing and distributing court documents and preparing required reporting.  Kelly also prepares the Judge’s calendar and organizes the files for each day’s court docket.



Melany Smythe  
Intensive Supervision Probation Officer


Melany attended Bowling Green State University earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.  Melany has worked as an investigator for the Erie County Department of Human Services as well as serving as a Program Coordinator for the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board of Erie County.  Melany also has significant experience working for 10 years within the Sandusky City Schools serving as the Career Development Coordinator at EHOVE. 

Melany accepted the position of Intensive Supervision Probation Officer with the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court in 2009.  As the Intensive Supervision Probation Officer, Melany supervises individuals who are placed on probation, most with serious substance abuse issues.  Melany supervises these individuals and assists them with obtaining counseling and treatment, as well as assisting the individual to seek and maintain employment.  In many instances Melany has daily or weekly contact with the individuals to ensure compliance with the terms of his or her probation.




Jean Deis
Probation Secretary

Mrs. Deis has been the probation secretary since January, 2003.  She is a graduate of Port Clinton High School and a life long resident of Port Clinton.  She is married and they have one daughter.

Mrs. Deis started working in the legal profession in 1970 as a legal secretary for Moon and Moon, and in 1971 for Attorney Larry Noblitt when he joined the firm of Moon, Moon and Noblitt.  After 17 years, she started new employment with Cooper, Straub, Walinski and Cramer in Toledo, Ohio as a paralegal in the areas of law in real estate, probate and adoptions for 6 years before coming back to Port Clinton as the Clerk of the Ottawa County Municipal Court.  In April of 1996, she became a Clerical Specialist with the Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services and worked part-time for the law firm of Tone, Grubbe, McGory and Vermeeren in Sandusky, Ohio, and worked in both capacities until being hired as the Adult Probation Secretary.

As the Adult Probation Secretary, Jean has various duties including: taking all calls that come in to the Probation Department; contacting other law enforcement agencies;  assisting in the completion of records checks; scheduling hearings for criminal cases; maintaining and managing all probation files; ensuring payment of bills for the Probation Department; preparation of penalty sheets for new indictments; and assisting in the drug testing program.


    Deputy Jody Royster    Court Security Officer

Jody Royster is a graduate of Danbury High School and of Terra Community College, where he earned an Associate's Degree in Police Science.  After completing his Associate's Degree, Deputy Royster attended Tiffin University earning a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice.  Deputy Royster also possesses a certificate for completion of the Ohio Peace Officer's Training Academy.  

Prior to being employed as the Court Security Deputy, Deputy Royster has worked for the Port Clinton Police Department as a Police Officer and with the Ottawa County Municipal Court as the Bailiff/Probation Officer.  In 2007, Deputy Royster was hired by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department as a Corrections Deputy working in the Ottawa County Detention Facility. 

In 2010, Deputy Royster was offered the Courthouse Security Deputy Position, to which he is now assigned.  Deputy Royster is still an employee of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, however he is assigned to the Ottawa County Courthouse and the Ottawa County Municipal Court.  Deputy Royster's duties include: insuring protection in all County Courtrooms; security and protection for all Judges, court staff, juries, parties to proceedings, and the general public; and serving as a Court Bailiff when needed.




Judy A. Flood
Chief Probation Officer


1977 Seneca East High School Graduate
1996 Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, Magna Cum Laude, University of Toledo
2000 Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, University of Toledo

Work Experience:

  1. Erie County Juvenile Detention Facility, Group Leader
  2. Ottawa County Juvenile Court, Probation Officer
  3. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Youth Conservation Corps Supervisor
  4. Adjunct Faculty, University of Toledo, Paralegal Studies

2002-2008 Adjunct Faculty, Owens Community College, Developmental Education         
2000-Present Private Practice of Law: 318 Madison Street, Port Clinton, Ohio

Primary Areas of Practice: Juvenile, Probate, Real Estate, Business Formation, and Bankruptcy

Previous Activities: Clerk-Treasurer, Salem Oak Harbor Union Cemetery; Coach, University of Toledo Mock Trial Team

Memberships: Ottawa County Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Toledo Law Association,




Michael Patterson
 Probation Officer

Michael is a graduate of Findlay High School and Bowling Green State University where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice.  After receiving his Bachelor's Degree, Michael attended the University of Toledo College of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. 

Prior to accepting a position with the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, Michael was employed as Title IV-D counsel with the Ottawa County Child Support Enforcement Agency.  As Title IV-D counsel, Michael represented the Child Support Enforcement Agency in various proceedings against individuals who owed child support.  Michael also has experience working with the Wood County Public Defender's Office and the City of Findlay Law Director's Office.

Michael accepted the position of Probation Officer and Deputy Bailiff with the Common Pleas Court in 2010.  As a probation officer, Michael supervises various individuals who are sentenced to probation by the Common Pleas Court Judge.  As a portion of his supervision, Michael assists the individuals with obtaining any necessary counseling services, completing community service, and seeking and maintaining employment.  In addition to his duties as a Probation Officer, Michael also acts as a Deputy Bailiff for the Court and is responsible for calling court and preparing various entries for criminal cases.



Brian Goodell

Magistrate Goodell is a graduate of the College of Law of the University of Toledo.  He also holds a B.A. in English from the University of Akron. 

Prior to his appointment as a magistrate in the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas, Magistrate Goodell served as a Magistrate in the Juvenile Court of Lucas County, Ohio.

In addition to his experience as a Magistrate, Magistrate Goodell has served as an adjunct professor at the College of Law at the University of Toledo, and he has taught continuing legal education courses for lawyers and judges for numerous legal organizations, including the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio Judicial College. 

In his capacity as Magistrate, Magistrate Goodell acts as judicial hearing officer and has the authority to conduct trials, take witness testimony, make evidentiary rulings, and issue temporary orders as needed to regulate the Court proceedings.



Mark Frederick

Mark graduated from Port Clinton High School in 1980 then received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University in 1984 and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Toledo in 1987.  Since then, Mark has practiced law in the municipal, common pleas and appellate courts primarily in Wood and Ottawa Counties for a small firm, a public defender’s office and as a sole practitioner.  Mark also served as the first magistrate of the Put-in-Bay Mayor’s Court from 1999 to 2009.

Mark completed mediation training in 2005 and thereafter conducted mediation sessions in family law cases through Court sponsored programs and in private practice.  In February 2009, Mark closed his private practice and accepted the position of family law mediator for the Common Pleas Courts of Ottawa and Sandusky Counties.  That program has since been expanded to include foreclosure mediation.

In conducting mediation sessions Mark acts as a neutral third party who guides the discussion and assists the parties in seeking a resolution of their dispute.  It is an effective means of conflict resolution that can save the parties the aggravation, time and costs associated with traditional litigation.









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