The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 4, 2014

County contests starting to take shape

Tarighati, Specht seek Common Pleas seats

JEFFERSON — More candidates have made official their interest in three county judgeships available next year, according to the Ashtabula County Board of Elections.

On Friday, Ariana Tarighati filed petitions for the Common Pleas Court position now held by Judge Alfred Mackey. On Monday, Geneva attorney Thomas Brown filed petitions for the same seat. Earlier that same day, Harold E. Specht Jr., filed petitions for the Common Pleas Court seat occupied by Ronald Vettle.

Also, Virginia Miller has filed for Vettel’s position while Edith Hough filed petitions for the juvenile/probate judge job Charles Hague will vacate at the end of this year.

Incumbent Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Yost has also filed for re-election. Mackey, Vettel and Hague are obliged to retire at the end of the year due to state-mandated age limits.

All will be candidates in the May 6 primary election.

Tarighati, an attorney for 25 years, has spent 17 of those years prosecuting crime, according to a statement. She has worked as an assistant prosecutor in Lake County and also eight years as Ashtabula County assistant prosecutor in Ashtabula County. She entered private practice in 2005, doing work that involves defense cases, appellate work and civil matters.

Tarighati has argued cases before the Ohio Supreme Court and 11th District Court of Appeals, and has handled cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. She is “enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve as the first woman elected as a judge in Ashtabula County,” according to a statement, and if elected “intends to serve with the same dedication she has her entire legal career, tough on crime and concerned for the rights of honest citizens,” according to the statement.

For more information, visit or contact her at

Specht has been a county prosecutor for 12 years, and has served as chief assistant prosecutor since 2008, according to a statement. Previously, he served with the Marine Corps in the Gulf War, earning a Southwest Asia Combat ribbon. He has earned degrees from Cleveland State University and Cleveland Marshall College of Law. In 1998, while still a law student, Specht began work as a legal research intern with the Ashtabula County prosecutor’s office.

As a prosecutor, Specht “practiced a hard-line, zero-tolerance policy on prosecuting criminals” and would be “tough on crime, a no-nonsense judge,” according to the statement. He lives in Jefferson. For more information, visit

Brown, of Geneva, has practiced law since 1981 and currently practices in Ashtabula with attorney Kenneth Piper. He served as special counsel to Ohio Attorney General Anthony J. Celebreeze Jr., in 1983, and Attorney General Lee Fisher in 1995, according to a statement. Brown, an Army veteran, served in Vietnam and earned the Bronze Star.

“It has been a privilege to represent real people with real problems for over 30 years in Ashtabula Brown,” Brown said in the statement.

For more information, visit

Here’s how the judge races shape up as of Monday afternoon:

• Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court (term beginning Jan. 1, 2015) — County court administrator Marianne Sezon, Virginia Miller and Harold E. Specht Jr., have filed petitions; David Per Due has taken out petitions

• Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court (term beginning Jan. 2, 2015) — Incumbent Judge Gary Yost has filed petitions

• Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court (term beginning Feb. 9, 2015) — Conneaut Municipal Court Judge Thomas Harris, Ariana Tarighati and Thomas C. Brown have filed petitions

• Ashtabula County Juvenile/Probate Court — Magistrate Edith Hough and Ashtabula Municipal Court Judge Albert Camplese have filed petitions

In non-judicial campaign news, Casey Kozlowski has filed petitions for Ashtabula County commissioner. He hopes to succeed Joe Moroski, who announced in December he would not seek a fourth term.

Kozlowski served as representative to the Ohio 99th House district in 2011-2012. Several people have taken out petitions for the position, but Kozlowski was the first to file.

Filing deadline for primary petitions is 4 p.m. Wednesday at the election board office.

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