MIAMI COUNTY — After 18 years of serving the Miami County community as a municipal court judge, Elizabeth Gutmann stepped down from her post Friday morning as Sam Huffman was sworn in as her successor.
“It’s bittersweet to leave the job you love,” Gutmann said. “I have every confidence in Sam, and I know that he is going to do an awesome job.”
The large courtroom on the third floor of the old courthouse on Main Street in Troy was overflowing with honored judges and magistrates, elected officials, Miami County Municipal Court and Common Pleas Court employees, friends and family, and other guests.
Gutmann along with Probate Judge McGregor Dixon and Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee presided over the swearing-in ceremony.
“This has been such an honor,” Gutmann said. “In 18 years, we’ve come so far.”
Gutmann remarked on the municipal court employees, saying, “This is my chance to say thank you.”
Gutmann then introduced her family in attendance, saying, “I’m from a family of lawyers.” Gutmann also noted her husband Mike Gutmann’s support of her during the three terms that she has served as a municipal court judge.
“He’s been with me 100 percent,” she said.
Gutmann added that she was looking forward to participating on the Miami County Park Board in the future after her retirement as municipal court judge. “That’s one of my personal passions,” Gutmann said.
“She always treated the lawyers with respect,” attorney Bob Huffman said. About everyone in Gutmann’s courtroom, Bob Huffman added, “She genuinely cared about the people in front of her.”
Bob Huffman, Sam Huffman’s brother, conducted the swearing-in ceremony, where Sam Huffman swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Ohio Constitution.
Sam Huffman, 50, has practiced law in Miami County for more than 22 years at his law firm Huffman, Landis, Weaks and Walters, located at 80 S. Plum St. in Troy.
“This is one of the most beautiful courthouses in the Dayton area, and I got to quite a few of them, and this really is one of the best courthouses around, and not just because of the building, but because of the people that work here, in particular our judges,” Sam Huffman said.
“The last month or so I’ve had two questions: ‘Are you excited?’ and “Are you nervous?’” Sam Huffman said. “Well, excited, yes, I really look forward to doing this job. Nervous, there’s one reason why I’m nervous, I’ve really thought about this, and it’s really because of Judge Gutmann. Big shoes to fill. She’s done a wonderful job with this courtroom for the last 18 years, and sincerely, I think think it’s one of the best courts around.”
Sam Huffman continued to commend the work of Gutmann and the municipal court employees. “She runs a great courtroom, and I’m going to try and follow in her footsteps,” he said.
Sam Huffman also recognized his wife, Suzanne, and children, Luke, Laura, and Gabriella, who were in attendance.
Sam Huffman is a graduate of Milton-Union High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and his Juris Doctorate from Ohio Northern University. He served on the Milton-Union Schools’ board of education for 11 years and was a former Union Township youth recreation association member and past president.
Honored judges and magistrates in attendance at the swearing-in ceremony included Magistrate Margaret Young of Greene County Common Pleas Court; Magistrate Gary Zuhl of Miami County Municipal Court; Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, the sister of Sam Huffman; Ohio Second District Court of Appeals Judge Michael Hall; Ohio Second District Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Welbaum; Magistrate Gretchen Beers of Miami County Common Pleas Court; Magistrate Katherine Severt of Miami County Probate Court; and Magistrate Scott Altenburger of Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336