Elect Sperlazza For Judge
My family is from the panhandle of West Virginia. My maternal grandfather served in the United States Marine Corps and worked for over 30 years at Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel; he was a lifetime member of the United Steelworkers of America. My paternal grandfather worked for over 30 years in the coal mining business.
I was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and was raised in the Mahoning Valley. My dad worked at Youngstown State University for 33 years in facilities management. My mother went to college once I was of school age, and earned her degree in early childhood education. She worked as a preschool teacher at Easter Seals in inner-city Youngstown for 15 years.
I attended Girard High School, just north of Youngstown. After graduation I attended Youngstown State University. Throughout college I worked various campus jobs during the day and as a basketball coach in the evenings. I graduated magna cum laude.
I attended law school at Ohio State University where I was Executive Editor of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. I was fortunate to study abroad at the University of Oxford, and was equally fortunate to land a job in the Columbus City Attorney’s Office in 2005.
After two years working multiple non-lawyer jobs in the Prosecutor’s Division, I was hired as an Assistant City Prosecutor. For five years I prosecuted misdemeanor cases in just about every municipal courtroom; I conducted countless jury trials, court trials, and evidentiary hearings.
In the spring of 2012 I began working in the Zone Initiative section of the City Attorney’s Office, where I continue to practice today. During my seven years as a Zone Attorney I’ve practiced exclusively in the Environmental Court. I’ve handled hundreds of cases ranging from minor property violations to drug houses to large-scale hotel and apartment complex cases. From Northland to the Livingston Area to Franklinton, from Brice Road to the Northwest side and Downtown, I have removed criminal businesses and drug houses from neighborhoods and business districts throughout Central Ohio. What I treasure most is my interaction with people. The handshakes, the hugs, the happiness, the tears of joy—people letting me know how grateful they are that we have done something to make their communities safer.
For my work practicing in Environmental Court I have been fortunate to receive multiple awards. These include:
Ohio Crime Prevention Association Special Projects Award
Columbus Police Department Meritorious Public Service Award
City of Columbus Mayor’s Award of Excellence
Northland Community Council President’s Award.
Basketball Coaching Career
While my legal career has been fulfilling, I was missing the joy I felt during my college years working with young people through the game of basketball. In 2015 I decided to get back into coaching. I spent two years coaching at Linden McKinley STEM Academy, followed by a year at Bishop Hartley High School. Last year I accepted a new position as the head girls basketball coach at Thomas Worthington High School, a position I still hold. Working with these young ladies from so many different religious, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds has served a lasting influence on my life. I begin my 9th season on the sidelines this fall.
My career, my compassion for people, and my belief in the strength of neighborhoods are the building blocks of my pursuit of the Environmental Court bench.