Judges / Staff

Judge Gene Donofrio
Presiding Judge
Aaron Hively, Staff Attorney
Melanie Czopur-Gaffney, Staff Attorney
Rebecca Hively, Judicial Secretary
Judge Joseph J. Vukovich
Kristen O'Horo, Staff Attorney
Melissa Bateman, Staff Attorney
Reneé Rockwood-Suri, Judicial Secretary
Judge Cheryl L. Waite
Jeffrey Hendrickson, Staff Attorney
Laura Canale, Staff Attorney
Teresa Barron-Lloyd, Judicial Secretary
Judge Mary DeGenaro
Emily Kristen Anglewicz, Staff Attorney
Kyde Kelly, Staff Attorney
Bobbie Knickerbocker, Judicial Secretary


Judge Cheryl L. Waite was elected to the Seventh District Court of Appeals in November, 1996 and reelected to that bench in 2002 and 2008. She served as presiding judge of this Court from February of 2003-2005. The Seventh District is comprised of eight counties; Mahoning, Columbiana, Jefferson, Carroll, Belmont, Harrison, Monroe and Noble, and hears all appeals arising from the trial courts in those counties except where, since 1995, the death penalty is imposed.

Judge Waite received her undergraduate degree with honors from Youngstown State University in 1982. She went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, Cleveland State University in 1985 and was admitted to the bar that same year. She was admitted to practice in the Federal Court of Appeals in 1986 and the United States Supreme Court in 1992. Her memberships include the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Youngstown State University Alumni Association, the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi and the Ohio Courts of Appeals Judges Association. She is currently serving as President on the Board of Trustees of the YWCA and is chair of its personnel committee. She is serving as President of the Board of Directors of Gateways Industries, Inc. after serving for 8 years on the Board of Directors of Gateways to Better Living, Inc. Judge Waite was appointed by Chief Justice Moyer to serve as the Court of Appeals representative on the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission from 2000-2004. She also served on the Ohio State Bar Association’s Committee on the Independent Judiciary and the Unjust Criticism of Judges.

After clerking for various law firms in both Cleveland and Youngstown during law school, Judge Waite was hired as an Assistant Law Director for the City of Youngstown in 1985, attaining the post of First Assistant. She also served as the City's acting Risk Manager beginning in 1991.

Judge Waite is married to Attorney Edwin Romero and together they live with their two children Alexis and Evan.

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Judge Gene Donofrio joined the Seventh District Court of Appeals in February 1993. He obtained his B.A. degree in 1975 from Youngstown State University after which he studied at the University of Akron, College of Law. He was awarded his J.D. degree in 1978. After his admission to the Ohio Bar, Judge Donofrio was in the general practice of law for over 14 years. He also was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Youngstown as well as Mahoning County. He also served as counsel for the Mahoning County Treasurer and also as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio.

Judge Donofrio is a member of the Florida Bar and is a member of his local, state and American Bar Associations. Judge Donofrio also is a member of the limited faculty at Youngstown State University. He has additionally served as legal advisor and board member to alcohol and drug addiction programs and boards. Gene, born September 2, 1953, and his wife Janet, have three children and reside in Canfield.

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Judge Joseph J. Vukovich was elected to the Seventh District Court of Appeals in 1996.

Family: Children, Joseph and Andrew.

Education: B.A. (Political Science) Youngstown State University; J.D. University of Akron, College of Law.

Military: Army Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (1968-1970).
Service Area: Vietnam (1969-1970); Obtained rank of Sergeant.


  • Assistant Attorney General, State of Ohio (1973-1977)
  • Deputy Law Director, City of Youngstown (1978-1979)
  • Private Law Practice (1978-1996)
  • State Representative, State of Ohio, 52nd District (1979-1992)
  • State Senator, State of Ohio, 33rd District (1993-1996)


  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • American Legion
  • Catholic War Vets
  • 101st Airborne Division Association
  • Holy Family Parish

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Elected to the Seventh District Court of Appeals in November 2000.

Judge DeGenaro is admitted to practice in Ohio (1986); U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (1987); U.S. Supreme Court (1991); U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (1993); U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth District (1994). She was in private practice for 14 years prior to her election, primarily general civil litigation and appellate practice. She also served on Poland Village Council (January 1998 through January 2001).

Education: Youngstown State University (B.A. 1983); Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University (J.D. 1986). During law school she served an internship with U.S. District Judge George White, and served as editor of the law school news magazine.

Judge DeGenaro is a member of the American Bar Association; the Ohio Bar Association; the Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson County Bar Associations; the Ohio Appellate Judges Association and the Ohio Judicial Conference. She is a charter member of the OSBA Appellate Practice Committee and chair of the education subcommittee, and is starting her third year as a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference Ethics Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, and a member of the external advisory committee of the Ohio Center for the Advancement of Women in Public Service at Cleveland State University. She also teaches at the OSBA new lawyer training and volunteers with the Ohio Center for law related education high school mock trial competition.

Judge DeGenaro is married to Stephen A. DeGenaro, a home healthcare consultant and an inspector for a home healthcare accrediting agency. The DeGenaros have two sons.

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