Judge Robert G. Montgomery was elected Probate Judge by the people of Franklin County on November 2, 2010 and took office on January 1, 2011. He was re-elected to a full six-year term as Probate Judge on November 4, 2014. By law, he serves as Administrative Judge of the Probate Division of the Common Pleas Courts and as the clerk of his own court.
Judge Montgomery was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Ohio Association of Probate Judges in 2012 and continues to serve in that role. In 2013, Judge Montgomery was elected as an at-large officer of the statewide Ohio Association of Probate Judges. In 2015, Judge Montgomery was elected as Secretary/Historian of the Ohio Association of Probate Judges.
Judge Montgomery has been an innovator in his approach to current and future needs relating to the Guardianship concept. Many of the Court's wards receive services from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County and Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Board of DD). Many of the wards also have dual diagnosis of mental illness/ impairment along with development disabilities. Judge Montgomery lobbied the legislature and established the first in the state of Ohio Probate Court Mental Health Fund. This fund is a collaborative effort between the Franklin County Probate Court, ADAMH and the Board of DD. Judge Montgomery drafted the legislation that was passed by the legislature which created the first “Public Guardian” for the State of Ohio. This pilot program only applies in Judge Montgomery’s jurisdiction of Franklin County. On October 1, 2015, Judge Montgomery established the first four guardianships under the newly created Franklin County Guardian Service Board. Assigning of indigent wards to the Board represented a first of its kind pilot program for a “Public Guardian” in the State of Ohio, representing a shift from an attorney-based system, to a social services model.
Judge Montgomery was appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton to the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence in 2012 to serve a three-year term. Judge Montgomery served his second three-year term on the Commission until 2017. The Commission is responsible for reviewing and offering recommendations to the Ohio Supreme Court on all proposed superintendence rules and amendments from the Supreme Court’s various advisory bodies and other organizations.
Judge Montgomery was appointed to the Probate Law and Procedure Committee for the Ohio Association of Probate Judges in 2013 and continues to serve on that committee which reviews issues and proposals that are relevant to Probate Courts. The committee also analyzes pending legislation which could affect Probate Courts.
Judge Montgomery was also appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court’s Subcommittee on Adult Guardianships in 2012. This Committee analyzes issues that relate to the Guardianship Relationship.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
- Awarded by the Ohio Guardianship Association
On September 19, 2019, the Ohio Guardianship Association honored Judge Montgomery by giving him the Distinguished Service Award. This award was given to Judge Montgomery in recognition of his innovative guardianship programs he created and implemented in Franklin County.
The Ohio Guardianship Association specifically mentioned Judge Montgomery’s pilot program in Franklin County where Judge Montgomery drafted the legislation which created the First Public Guardian in the State of Ohio. This program became so successful that the legislature took Judge Montgomery’s program and passed legislation making his Franklin County pilot program a statewide initiative. This allowed all of Ohio’s Probate Judges to implement the same public guardianship program Judge Montgomery started in Franklin County. The Ohio Guardianship Association also recognized Judge Montgomery for another new program, the “Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes”. This new program has allowed parents to stay involved in their children’s mental health care needs after they turn the age of 18.
AWARD OF JUDICIAL EXCELLENCE
- Awarded by the Ohio Association of Probate Judges
On June 10, 2019, the Ohio Association of Probate Judges recognized Judge Montgomery as an outstanding jurist by giving him its Award of Judicial Excellence. This award was given to Judge Montgomery in recognition of the many innovative judicial programs he has created in the Franklin County Probate Court. It was awarded by a bipartisan group of his peers serving as judges in Ohio’s 88 counties.The first program lauded was the creation of the State’s first Pubic Guardianship Program where he drafted legislation creating the Franklin County Guardianship Service Board. This pilot program for Franklin County became a statewide model for other probate courts in March 2019 after the General Assembly adopted HB 595 at Judge Montgomery’s urging, with the Association’s support.The many other innovative programs developed by Judge Montgomery include the State’s first program for Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Purposes, the first full-time probate Mediation Program, plus the Assisted Outpatient Treatment and Outpatient Commitment Court, keeping mentally-ill citizens in their homes to receive treatment.Additionally, citizens needing help can now also turn to the Franklin County Probate Court Legal Resource Center, a legal clinic staffed by a contract lawyer to help them with small estates.
MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
- Awarded by the Ohio Association of Probate Judges
Judge Montgomery received the Meritorious Service Award
from the Ohio Association of Probate Judges
in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This award was presented to Judge Montgomery for his leadership and commitment to the many worthy causes he has devoted time and resources to with the Association, including establishing the State of Ohio’s first Probate Court Mental Health fund in Franklin County.
CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION
- Awarded by the Supreme Court of Ohio
Judge Montgomery received this certificate most recently in December 2017, after previously receiving one in December of 2014. The Supreme Court of Ohio appointed Judge Montgomery to serve on the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence for Ohio Courts.This key group enacts rules regulating all of Ohio’s courts.Judge Montgomery served as a Commissioner from January 2012 through December 2017.
PUBLIC OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR AWARD
- Awarded by the National Association of Social Workers, Region 5
In 2016, the National Association of Social Workers, Region 5, selected Judge Montgomery to receive the Public Elected Official of the Year Award. This was done in recognition of Judge Montgomery’s innovative ideas in creating the State of Ohio’s first Public Guardian Program.
CHARLETA TAVARES CHAMPION AWARD
- Awarded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness
In 2016, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Franklin County gave Judge Montgomery the Charleta Tavares Champion Award. This recognized the new Assisted Outpatient Treatment and Outpatient Commitment Court developed by Judge Montgomery.
HANCOCK COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
- Awarded by the Hancock County Sports Hall of Fame
On April 11, 1992, Judge Montgomery was inducted into the Hancock County Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the McComb High School State Football Championship Team for the 1983 season.
Prior government experience
Immediately prior to his service on the bench, Judge Montgomery served as Franklin County Recorder from 2000 to 2010. He was initially elected in 2000 and re-elected Recorder in 2004 and 2008.
During his successful tenure as Recorder, Judge Montgomery increased transparency in the Recorder's Office and provided a high level of key government services to the people of Franklin County by:
- Providing important public outreach to taxpayers on living wills and durable healthcare powers of attorney, having disseminated more than 50,000 educational packets, including the official forms, over ten years and at no cost to citizens in Central Ohio;
- Being the first Franklin County Recorder to provide free Internet access to deeds and mortgage records in 2001, saving the taxpayers in excess of an estimated $3 million in copying fees over his 10 years in office by allowing customers to access and print these records from their own homes and offices;
- Creating the first Human Resources Department in the history of the Recorder's Office, including an employee training and development program which trained managers and other deputy recorders in customer service, public records, employment laws, safety, business continuity, management techniques, emergency response, and other areas;
- Reducing staff by 10% from when he first took office without layoffs and taking advantage of increased technology and cross training, continuing to deliver a high level of customer service;
- Archiving all Franklin County deed records back to the founding of the United States in an electronic format, to ensure the accessibility of these historic records for all posterity;
- Educating veterans about their right to have their discharge records permanently on record and safeguarded at no cost by the County Recorder.
Judge Montgomery received numerous awards and recognitions for his professional, political, veteran's and community service activities while Recorder. He has been recognized multiple times by the U.S. Department of Defense Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Program. He has received a certificate of appreciation from the Gold Star Family Committee for his support for recognizing servicemen and women killed in the line of duty with an official Ohio license plate, a program enacted by Senate Bill 25. While serving as County Recorder, Judge Montgomery received an award from the AARP Foundation's Senior Community Service Employment Program for his commitment to retraining and employing senior citizens.
Career Path - Private sector
Prior to entering public service at age 31, Judge Montgomery was a successful business owner in the wireless telecommunication industry, operating several companies while attending law school in the evening division. At their pinnacle, his companies had 12 offices in five states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, employing over 200 people. Under his leadership, his companies earned numerous awards for productivity.
Immediately prior to his election as Recorder, Judge Montgomery engaged in the private practice of law for several years, as a partner in a law firm and focused his practice on advanced estate planning, real estate and business law. Judge Montgomery was a licensed title agent and founded and then sold a land title agency. In addition, he served as an assistant prosecutor for the Village of Hartford and a special assistant prosecutor for the City of Newark.
Judge Montgomery earned his doctor of law (J.D.) degree from Capital University Law School in 1996, graduating with distinction, and earning membership in the Order of the Curia. He received the coveted American Jurisprudence Award for the highest grade in business associations II (corporation law). Judge Montgomery holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University, which he earned in 1989. Judge Montgomery is admitted to the Ohio bar and regularly completes judicial education from the Ohio Judicial College.
An avid outdoorsman and conservationist, he owns and operates a farming operation in rural Southeastern Ohio. Originally from the Village of McComb in Hancock County, Ohio, where he played on a state championship football team and was active in the Future Farmers of America, Judge Montgomery now resides in Northeast Franklin County with his family.
Judge Montgomery is a current member of the Columbus Bar Association; the Ohio State Bar Association; Ohio Supreme Court’s Subcommittee on Adult Guardianships; Executive Committee of the Ohio Association of Probate Judges; and was elected to Secretary/Historian of the Ohio Association of Probate Judges in 2015; Host for the 2014 Summer Conference of the Ohio Associations of Probate, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judges; National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks; the Ohio Probate Judge's Association; and the National College of Probate Judges. He is a former member of the Ohio Recorder's Association, the Property Records Industry Association, the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers, and the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association.