TROY — Former Miami County Municipal Court Judge Mel Kemmer announced Friday that he is a candidate for Miami County Prosecuting Attorney in the Republican primary election to be held on March 15, 2016.
The county prosecuting attorney is responsible for conducting the grand jury, prosecuting all felony indictments and providing legal counsel to the Board of County Commissioners and various other county boards, commissions and agencies.
“I am running for county prosecutor because I have the experience the job demands,” Kemmer said. “Having practiced law for over 26 years, I know full well that when clients need advice, they need it in a timely fashion.”
As prosecutor, Kemmer said he will draw upon his many years of experience. He has been admitted to the practice of law in Ohio for more than 37 years. During that time, he has worked two different tines with the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office, first under Jim Livingston and then under Jeff Welbaum. During those times, Kemmer has done virtually everything in the office, including prosecuting felony cases, providing legal representation to county boards and commissions, representing the county children’s services agency in cases of abuse, dependency and neglect, and prosecuting juvenile offenders.
Also during that time, Kemmer won a multi-million dollar jury verdict for a widow in a wrongful death case in federal court. In addition, he was the law director for the city of New Carlisle for 21 years, providing him experience in advising and representing governmental agencies.
In 2003, Kemmer was elected as a municipal court judge, and re-elected in 2009. He served in that position for approximately nine years, during which he was a moving force behind implementing the technology to do jail arraignments by video, thereby solving the security issue resulting from bringing the prisoners across the plaza from the jail to the courthouse. He also spearheaded a change in culture among the various other courts in the county regarding a team effort to select a vendor to provide all the courts with the technology to capture the record of proceedings, thereby utilizing economy of scale to save taxpayer money.
Immediately upon taking the bench, he discovered that the court wasn’t following up on making sure that criminal defendants actually paid the fines that were assessed against them. He discovered that some recidivist defendants owed thousands of dollars in long overdue fines. Kemmer instituted a process whereby every defendant’s past record of paying fines was reviewed prior to sentencing and held them accountable for paying those back fines. This process resulted in the collection of more than $1 million of these fines that went into the county coffers.
Kemmer served on the executive committees of both the Ohio Judicial Conference and the Association of Municipal and County Court Judges of Ohio. He also was asked to teach newly elected judges in the annual New Judges’ Orientation.
Mel has been married to his wife, Mary Beth, for more than 46 years. They have two sons and two daughters-in-law, Andy and Jennifer Davis Kemmer, who live in Troy with their son Anden, and Doon and Sarah Rurode Kemmer, who live in Piqua with their three daughters Sofi, Lily and Madi. Mary Beth is president of the Miami County Republican Women’s Club and treasurer of the statewide Ohio Federation of Republican Women.
Kemmer obtained his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University with a major in chemistry. After graduation, he was off for basic training in the U.S. Army, serving a total of six years in the Army Reserves. After a brief career teaching chemistry and general science in an inner city school in Dayton, Kemmer was an analytical research chemist with Monsanto Research Corp. He specialized in an analytical technique called “gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.” When the University of Dayton re-opened its law school in 1974, Kemmer was admitted in the first class. He was graduated with a juris doctor degree in 1978 and was admitted to the Ohio Bar the same year.
“I intend to utilize my long and multi-faceted experience to promote confidence in the prosecutor’s office as I did in the municipal court,” Kemmer said.