There are few people with the distinct duty of taking a bullet for someone. You may have never thought of that as one of the roles performed by a court bailiff, but when you get right down to it, that is an expectation. It is one of those jobs that falls under “rare breed” Darren Litz is one of those people charged with putting himself on the line for others.
Litz is a recent recipient of the Ohio Bailiffs and Court Officers Association State Officer of the Year award as well as the regional award for the same honor. He serves in the courtroom of Scioto County Juvenile Court Magistrate Rebecca Bennett and under Scioto County Juvenile Court Judge Alan Lemons. There are seven regions and Scioto County is in Region E. Shawn Davis who is president of Region E and is the incoming president for the entire state.
Litz, who served in the United States Marine Corps, has been in that court since 1999, beginning under Judge James Kirsch and now serving under Judge Lemons.
“He would take a bullet for the judge,” Juvenile Court Administrator Dawn Keller-Phillips said. “He does anything any of us asks. He is just a hard hard worker and we all love him. He’s a good man.”
What does the award mean to you?
“There’s a lot of pride in it because it’s something given by the peers,” Litz said. “I had to obviously be nominated by somebody in our regions, which I’m assuming was Shawn Davis, the incoming president for the year. The peers have chosen me, so that’s a point of pride for me. It was a surprise to me. When I first told Shawn I couldn’t go to the meeting, he said – ‘you have to go to the meeting, this year.’”
Litz is the first person nominated for the state award from Region E, though Keller-Phillips also has received the regional award.
“Obviously we’re very proud of this young man,” Lemons said. “He not only works here, but he works two other jobs.”
In addition to his duties as bailiff in Juvenile Court, Litz works at the Scioto Ribber, and at Automania, and may soon be giving tennis lessons.
“He is a very hard worker,” Lemons said. “He not only does the bailiff stuff, but he kind of does the troubleshooting stuff. Anytime the equipment breaks down – go get Darren.”
The Daily Times asked Bennett what it is like to work with Litz.
“It’s a great experience,” Bennett said. “I want for nothing. I think the one thing is in terms of my personal safety. When I was hired here in February 2015 Darren told me that he promised the judge that I would go home every night, and I go home every night. It’s not an issue. We actually had a child rush the bench to get to me and he (Litz) was around that table and had a hold of him to protect me within seconds.”
If you thought it is all work for Litz, you would be wrong.
“We also have a lot of fun and he’s got a great sense of humor,” Bennett said. “So in the very short periods of times we may have between hearings, things come up and we enjoy those times, and we try to include other members of the Bar (Association ), And we have been told, at least throughout the Juvenile Court, some of the lawyers believe this is their favorite court to practice in because of the atmosphere.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.