Meet Arica Underwood

Arica currently works as Felony Trial Counsel for the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, primarily representing indigent individuals charged with felony crimes in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. She also represents clients charged with misdemeanors in the Hamilton County Municipal Court. She believes that a person’s access to effective and vigorous representation should not depend on their socioeconomic status. She has zealously defended her clients almost daily in the Hamilton County Courts for over 11 years.
Arica has been a licensed attorney for over 20 years, is experienced and qualified, and has a unique sense of perspective. She believes that one of the primary issues with the Court System is a complete lack of understanding of court proceedings. As a Municipal Court Judge, Arica will bring a balanced and committed sense of judicial service to the citizens of Hamilton County. She is hard working, and will work every day to ensure that all citizens have an equal and fair voice.


Arica is passionate about the law and about providing effective representation to her clients.  She believes that with the right Judges, the Justice System can be reformed.


Arica is polite to anyone that she meets.  If you have a question, she is very approachable, and will do her best to answer your questions.


Arica believes that even in an adversarial system, a certain level of civility is necessary.


Arica believes that it is important for a Judge to review the files of the cases which are scheduled before the proceedings to ensure familiarity with the issues.  She will use her background in legal research to make sure that she is prepared for each Motion or Hearing before the hearing begins.


Arica believes that it is important for every individual to understand the court proceedings.  She believes that a Judge should  answer all questions and address all concerns about any court proceedings in that Judge’s courtroom.


As a criminal defense attorney Arica has practiced in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas on a daily basis for the past 8 years. A Judge should have a unique and individual sense of discernment.


As a public defender, Arica understands hard work and the necessity to sometimes work every day in a week to get a job done.  She believes that a Judge should be present in Court to answer questions, address issues, and make sure that citizens are being served.


Bail Reform:

There are times when a high bond is appropriate, however, a Judge needs to take the time to review a person’s background, what they are accused of, and whether they are a danger to the community and set bond appropriately. If an individual is not a danger and is charged with a low level felony then they should not be precluded from posting a bond because they don’t have the money to post any bond.


Prison should never be the default sentence.  Each individual should be sentenced based on various factors relating to the person and any issues that they have such as mental illness and addiction. A sentence should be tailored to address the individual needs of the person, so that they have the best opportunity for rehabilitation.


Drug addiction is a major issue.  A Judge should consider programs for the defendant as well as any family members to address the addiction and support systems which may be necessary to address the issues associated with addiction.

Mental Health:

Unfortunately, mental health issues are rarely addressed in our society unless it comes into contact with the criminal justice system.  A Judge should be sure to determine if there are any mental health issues which may have contributed to being accused of a crime and find programs to address them.

Thank you all so much for the love and support!

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