Denise Cross

Presiding Judge of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and Administrative Judge of the Domestic Relations Division

Judge Denise L. Martin Cross is the Presiding Judge of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and the Administrative Judge of the Domestic Relations Division. The Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judges elected her the Presiding Judge in 2020 which results in her being the first African-American Presiding Judge of a Common Pleas Court in Ohio’s history.

Judge Cross has been an attorney for 42 years. Her professional career experiences include being the Legal Director/Chief Magistrate of the Montgomery County Juvenile Court; Assistant County Prosecutor for Montgomery County; Supervisor of the Domestic Relations Unit of the Legal Aid Society of Dayton; Assistant County Public Defender in Erie County, Pennsylvania; and a partner in the law firm of Jones & Meredith in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Her election to the bench in 2000 made history, where, in a contested race, she won every ward in Montgomery County. She has been a judge for 21 years, now serving a 4th term of office.

Since 2001 Judge Cross has served as the Administrative Judge in the Domestic Relations Division. This Court has been recognized as a leader throughout the state. During her tenure the court established an in-court Mediation Department, an electronic kiosk check-in system, a Pro Se workshop, a Domestic Violence wallet card, and an enhanced Parenting Seminar which consistently receives a 98% approval rating by participants. The Court is implementing an Electronic Filing system which will be operational by 2022 to enhance the ease of access to the court.

Judge Cross partners with community service organizations, understanding that “none of us is as smart as all of us.” She has received various community service awards including: The 2021 Public Service Award from Miami Valley Honors, a 2020 Artemis Center Peace Keeper Award, and the James E. Stamper Award from the Dayton Inter-Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund in 2016. In 2012 Judge Cross was named a “Phenomenal Woman” by Believers Christian Fellowship Church; in 2010 she was inducted in the Women of Leadership Hall of Fame for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio; and in 2004 the Dayton Daily News named Judge Cross one of the “Top Ten Women in the Miami Valley.”

Judge Cross received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wilberforce University.

She is a member of the Bar in the State of Ohio, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Bar in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Judge Cross’ other memberships include: Ohio Black Judges Association; National Bar Association; Ohio Bar Association; Thurgood Marshall Law Society; Dayton Bar Association; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.-Dayton Alumnae Chapter; The Carrousels, Inc.; The Queens of Finance; the Dayton Lawyer’s Club, 2019 Dayton Foundation Fellow and the National Association of Women Judges.

She serves as a stewardess at Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church and is also a Girl Scout leader for Troop 30069 of the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.

Judge Cross is the wife of Rev. Edward H. Cross, IV and they are the proud parents of Vashon, Danielle and Hewitt and the grandparents of Brianna, Christian, Jayden and Brooklynne.