By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
Hamilton County Municipal Judge Fanon Rucker announced last Friday that he is stepping down from the bench and will announce his future plans September 20 immediately after he leaves the bench.
“This is a 100% voluntary decision that started with a conversation with several people several months ago,’’ he told the Herald. “It’s an incredible opportunity for me. Yes, I will be stepping down as a judge to go into private practice, but I will definitely continue to serve the community.’’
The governor usually appoints municipal judges to fill vacancies. However, with the judicial elections coming up in November 2020, Rucker’s replacement will face election at that time and serve until 2023.
In 2004, Rucker ran for Hamilton County prosecutor as a write-in candidate against Joe Deters, after then-prosecutor Mike Allen withdrew from his re-election race.
Rucker, then 32, had the Democratic endorsement, but Deters, a longtime Republican, won 57% to 43%.
When Rucker ran for prosecutor in 2004, he said the office was something he had been preparing for since he was a child. His father, Robert Rucker Jr., is a onetime deputy prosecutor in Gary, Indiana, who served as an Indiana Supreme Court justice for 18 years.
Rucker was born and raised in Gary. He graduated from Hampton University and the University of Cincinnati College of Law. After completing his studies and passing the bar, Judge Rucker became a Cincinnati prosecutor.
After several years as a prosecutor, he entered private practice where he focused on the areas of Civil Rights, employment, municipal law and general civil litigation and also served as the prosecutor for three villages. Judge Rucker represented clients in many high-profile civil cases in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels.
In 2007, Rucker was appointed to the Hamilton County Municipal Court. Judge Rucker served as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati for several years. He says his biggest contribution to the legal community is the mentoring he provides to high school, college and law students, as well as young lawyers.
Professionally, Rucker has authored more than 400 decisions, occasionally appears on a national news talk show discussing court topics, hosts student law clerks year around and serves as the elected secretary of the state association of municipal and county judges. He has been called upon by the Ohio Supreme Court to serve on various boards and commissions.
Rucker is married and is the father of three children, two daughters and a son.