News & Events
George C. Smith '59 Receives William K. Thomas Distinguished Jurist Award
Award, was presented to Judge Smith on October 27 during the annual Judges' Day
October 28, 2005
The Honorable George C. Smith and Moritz Law Dean Nancy H. Rogers
The Honorable George C. Smith, District Judge, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, is the 2005-06 recipient of The William K. Thomas Distinguished Jurist Award, presented by the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.
The award, which was presented to Judge Smith on October 27 during the annual Judges' Day is given to a Moritz Law graduate whose personal integrity and commitment to fairness, freedom, and equality exemplify the highest ideals of the judicial system.
"Judge Smith is renowned for his courtesy, judicial temperament, and scholarship," said former U.S. Bankruptcy Judge William Bodoh, now of Frost, Brown, and Todd L.L.P. "He represents the highest ideals of a distinguished jurist."
Upon his graduation from the Moritz College of Law in 1959, George C. Smith began a distinguished public service career in his hometown of Columbus. He worked with the City Attorney's Office and for the Mayor, before joining then-Ohio Attorney General William B. Saxbe as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of Ohio.
In 1971, he was appointed prosecuting attorney for Franklin County, becoming one of the youngest prosecuting attorneys in a large metropolitan area in Ohio history.
Judge Smith's tenure on the bench began in 1980, when he was appointed to the Municipal Court of Franklin County. He was then elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas where he confirmed his reputation as a trial judge who respects and enforces the rule of law without favoritism, prejudice, or predisposition.
On the common pleas bench, Judge Smith presided over numerous capital and other murder cases and his courtroom provided an atmosphere of fairness for trial lawyers to advance their causes. He also tried high-profile civil lawsuits, like the Ohio Deposit Guarantee Fund and the Ohio Lottery. The Ohio Supreme Court repeatedly conferred on Judge Smith awards for "Outstanding Judicial Service."
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Smith to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Throughout his career, Judge Smith has continued to deal with high-profile litigation such as U.S. v. General Electric and manages and disposes of these cases with efficiency and judicious temperament.
The Ohio Bar Association and the Judicial College of Ohio continually seek Judge Smith's participation as a lecturer on practices, developments, and trends in the law.
Judge Smith's involvement in the community signals the leadership he displays on the bench. He has served on the board of trustees of the Central Ohio Lung Association and as an active member of the Central Ohio Leukemia Society. He has also been a driving force in establishing the Friends of Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie.
In 1989, he helped form a non-profit corporation to promote visitation to the monument. As the result, the U.S. Congress contributed more than five million dollars to improve the Perry Memorial and the surrounding park lands, including the establishment of a visitor's center.
In 1997, Governor George Voinovich appointed Judge Smith as a member of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission. Playing an active role on the Historical Marker Committee, Judge Smith led an effort to commemorate 297 historical events throughout the state.
He and his son, State Representative Geoffrey C. Smith (R-24, Columbus), work together hosting the American Council of Young Political Leaders when the group visits Columbus.
He is married to Barbara Wood Smith (B.A. in Ed., The Ohio State University), and they have three children: Curtis and Geoffrey, who received undergraduate degrees from Ohio State, and Elizabeth Ann, a Moritz Law graduate.