December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Lisa Swenski unseats Judge David Berta

ELYRIA — Six years ago, Lorain County Domestic Relations Judge David Berta unseated a sitting judge in an upset.

Swenski

On Tuesday, he was the one on the losing end.

Berta, 42, lost his seat on the bench Tuesday to domestic relations attorney Lisa Swenski, who said she was never deterred in her bid for the job, even after the campaign turned rough.

The race was marred by controversies not normally associated with judicial races.

On Friday, a former magistrate filed a lawsuit accusing Berta of sexual harassment — following up on allegations she made last year.

And earlier in the campaign, details about Swenski’s involuntary confinement in a mental institution were made public, which she said came about after she was raped by a fellow law student.

But in the end, voters determined who was the best for the job since there is no Republican opponent to face in November and no independents to challenge the winner.

Swenski garnered 13,592 votes, or 59 percent of the vote, to Berta’s 9,622 votes, or 41 percent, according to unofficial election results.

“Once in a while, the good guys win,” Swenski said from her victory party at the Rosewood Banquet Hall in Lorain. “I’m so happy for my supporters. I am so happy for the citizens of Lorain County. I plan to be an honest public servant, think of the citizens and put in a full day’s work for the families and children of Lorain County.”

Berta did not return calls for comment.

Swenski, 48, said she hopes to improve Domestic Relations Court by making it more accessible to the public. She would like to see forms placed on the county website geared toward people who represent themselves.

“There are more people filing now without divorce lawyers than with divorce lawyers because they cannot afford representation,” she said. “I would like for people to at least have access to the proper forms.”

Beyond her work in domestic relations law, Swenski also has worked for 3½ years as a magistrate in the Domestic Relations Court. She believes that experience will serve her well over the next six years.

“After some of the things I have been through, I feel the only way to change society is one family at a time,” she said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.