cautions The Marion County Building will be closed June 19th, 2024 in Observance of Juneteenth (Freedom Day)
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Judges

Meet the Judges

Edwards_Warren-T_Digital-UseJudge W. Tom Edwards 
Judge Edwards was raised in Marion by his parents, the Reverend Jon Edwards and his wife Sylvia Edwards R.N, and is a graduate of Marion Harding High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Capital University (Bexley, Ohio) and his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law (Columbus, Ohio).
He began his legal career as a law clerk with the civil firm of Decker, Vonau, Sybert Lackey & Viets Co., L.P.A. whose practice focused on legal issues surrounding construction, land contracts, personal injury, wills and estates. Upon receiving his law license, he joined the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, where for almost two decades he successfully prosecuted thousands of felony crimes. His efforts resulted in a reputation as a tough on crime trial prosecutor, who had convicted dozens of murders to sentences of life in prison. Several of cases he handled garnered national media coverage, including the prosecution of Columbus SWAT officer Steve Smith’s killer, the Volunteers of America Warehouse Arsonist, and the prosecution of Michael Slager for both the arson of Judy Malinowski, and three years later for her murder from that arson, a case that made Ohio legal history by being the first to preserve a murder victim’s testimony via deposition for trial, and ultimately resulted in the passage of “Judy’s Law". His efforts to obtain a just result for Judy are memorialized in the Emmy Award winning documentary "The Fire That Took Her".

As the senior Judge of Marion’s Common Pleas Court, Judge Edwards serves as the Administrative Judge. In this role he has brought the Marion County Courthouse in to compliance with Ohio Supreme Court security guidelines, by requiring all visitors to the courthouse to pass through a metal detector for the first time in Marion’s history, as well as implementing numerous other security procedures. Judge Edwards has also used the Role of Administrative Judge to ensure that those facing or being held on felony charges are no longer released due to jail overcrowding by revoking a 1999 "catch and release" order thereby ending the so called "revolving door" to Marion's justice system. As Administrative Judge, he has also re-written Local Rules of Court, appointed defense counsel for arraignment hearings to protect accused rights, adopted fax and efiling, and brought many other updates to the court.

Additionally, as Administrative Judge, Edwards has secured more than $5.4 Million in total grant funds for the Marion Court System which help fund the Marion County Adult Probation Department. These grants help pay for all aspects of the everyday operations of the probation department including: drug tests, electronic house arrest monitoring, sober living housing, Narcotics Anonymous books, department vehicle maintenance, and probation officers salaries. Without these grants, local tax dollars would have to fund the necessary operations of the department.

Judge Edwards also runs both of the Common Pleas court’s specialized dockets. His Drug Court focuses on assisting addicts with recovery, while his Re-entry court deals with those offenders who are re-entering society after a period of incarceration.

Judge Edwards lives in Marion County with his wife, Kelesta, a River Valley graduate, to whom he has been married for over 30 years. They have two adult children, who also both graduated from River Valley, and who are now teachers and coaches in Marion area schools. He is a member of the Marion County Bar Association as well as the Ohio Judicial Conference.


Judge-Photo-1-3Judge Matthew P. Frericks

Judge Frericks was born and raised in Marion, Ohio and is a graduate of River Valley High School. He obtained his undergraduate degree and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Dayton.

After law school Judge Frericks joined his father and uncles in the law firm of Frericks & Howard, L.P.A. Judge Frericks also served as a Marion County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for nearly six years handling felony prosecutions and serving as the civil attorney representing Marion County’s elected officials. Judge Frericks was also Magistrate and Court Administrator in the Marion Municipal Court for three years prior to becoming Judge.

Judge Frericks is the Co-Secretary & Treasurer of the Marion County Bar Association, also a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Judicial Conference, and a past member of the Ohio Association of Magistrates, along with serving on several local non-profit boards and helping to coach youth sports.




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