Judge Joel C. Fichter was elected to serve in the Massillon Municipal Court for the six-year term beginning January 1, 2020.
Prior to becoming Judge, Fichter was appointed by Judges Edward J. Elum and C. Roland Centrone on January 1, 2008, to serve as the full-time Magistrate of the Massillon Municipal Court. Prior to becoming Magistrate, he was in private practice from 1984 – 2007. He gained valuable experience in his law practice with the law firm Stergios & Kurtzman Co., L.P.A. for over 20 years and also as a sole practitioner for over 3 years. He served as an Acting Magistrate and Acting Judge in the Massillon Municipal Court from 2004 – 2007. Prior to becoming Judge, Fichter presided over more than 70,000 cases during his tenure on the bench. His caseload includes civil cases, and both felony and misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases.
Fichter graduated from Massillon Washington High School in 1977, Bowling Green State University in 1981 (cum laude), and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law in 1984.
Fichter has been a member of the American, Ohio State, and Stark County Bar Associations since 1984. He also was a member of the Massillon Lawyers’ Club and served as its president in 1989. From 2008 – 2019, he was a member of the Ohio Association of Magistrates. In May, 2017, he was elected to serve a three-year term as a member of the Stark County Bar Association Executive Committee.
Judge Fichter is a former commissioner of the City of Massillon Civil Service Commission, and is a former board member of the City of Massillon Recreation Board, Community Hospice of Stark County, Massillon YMCA, and the Washington High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, and was a youth baseball coach for 15 years. In June, 2004, he was appointed as the City of Massillon’s first Parking Appeals Hearing Examiner, a position he held until January, 2008. He is currently a member of the Western Stark County Homeless Task Force and is a board member of Massillon Youth Sports Association, Inc.
Fichter is a member of Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 190, Knights of Columbus Council 554, Order of Sons of Herman Schiller Lodge No. 2, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 221, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3124.
Fichter is a lifelong parishioner of St. Barbara Roman Catholic Church, where he has been an Acolyte for more than 50 years. He is also a former member of the Finance Council and Parish Council at St. Barbara.
Judge Fichter is a lifelong resident of western Stark County. He has been married to Christine for 30 years and they have three sons: Reed, Todd and Chad.