Judge Steve Christopher
Steve Christopher is a lifelong resident of Hardin County, Ohio. He worked his way through college at various jobs including lawn care, farmhand, factory worker, store clerk and painter, obtaining his first job at age ten and financing 100% of his college education himself. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ohio Northern University in 1981 and his law degree from Ohio Northern’ s Law school in 1984. He continued to work through law school to finance his education, working for the Lima, Ohio insurance defense firm of Corey, Leonard, Witter and Cheney and the late Paul Beach of Findlay, Ohio.
After five years as an associate at law firms in Lima and Kenton, Ohio, the partnership of Elliott and Christopher was established in Findlay and in 1991, this firm became the Christopher Law Office. In his role as a trial attorney for nearly 30 years, Judge Christopher was one of only a small number of attorneys in the state that handled the most serious cases in both the civil and criminal realms — million-dollar civil litigation and death penalty homicide cases. His civil trial experience included complex litigation such as wrongful death and products liability. His criminal experience was of such caliber that his cases have been covered by national news outlets including ESPN, 20/20, Inside Edition and The O'Reilly Factor, among others. In 1992, the judge was defense counsel in State v. Christopher Vanwormer, an aggravated murder case that was one of the first "gay bashing" cases to receive widespread media coverage. In 1995, he was chosen by renowned trial lawyers Gerry Spence, Richard "Racehorse" Haines of Watergate fame, and Morris Dees (the attorney who bankrupted the KKK) to be part of a small group of young trial attorneys from across the United States to received special training at the Trial Lawyers College. In addition, he served as associate counsel and/or referral attorney for the American Center for Law and Justice, the Alliance Defense Fund, and the National Rifle Association. In 2004 the judge served as both a recount witness and Ohio counsel for President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.
The judge's professional standing as a trial attorney has been recognized by his peers. He was certified by the Ohio Supreme Court as trial counsel for death penalty cases and served on the board of directors of both the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers. Judge Christopher spent ten years as a member of an Ohio Supreme Court certified ethics/grievance committee (including serving as both Chairman and trial counsel).
Judge Christopher has taught various law-related classes at Ohio Northern University since 2005 at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has served as a lecturer on topics as diverse as negligence law and domestic violence for the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The judge has appeared in cases at every level in both the state and federal court systems (except for the United States Supreme Court) in a practice that geographically has spanned much of the eastern United States. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as acting judge for eight years in the Hardin County Municipal Court.
Since assuming the bench in 2013, Judge Christopher has overseen the certification by the Ohio Supreme Court of three specialized dockets in his court: an adult treatment court, a juvenile drug treatment court, and a mental health court. He also presides over a court-run charter school, Hardin Community School, which is a recovery school serving Hardin County by providing structured learning for youth who have been ejected from the public schools, who are too far behind for the public schools to efficiently service, or who are in intensive treatment such that they cannot attend the public schools. In 2013, he worked with the county schools to implement an "early warning" system for the parents of truant children that has cut truancy filings by more than 70 percent.
Judge Christopher is a member of the Ohio Judicial College, the Ohio Probate Judges Association, The Ohio Juvenile Judges Association, the Specialized Docket Committee of the Ohio Supreme Court, the Inns of Court, and The Federalist Society. The Judge currently serves on the Ohio Judicial College's subcommittees for Judicial Ethics and Specialized Dockets and is on the governing board of the Northwest Ohio Rehabilitation Center. He has been married to his wife, Jill, since 1983 and has three adult children.