Left to right: Victim Witness Advocate Marilyn Lane, Assistant Prosecutor Ebenezer Appiagyei, Director of Communications and Community Outreach Alan Rodges. Bottom Row (Left to Right): Victim Witness Advocate Lisa Jordan, Senior Counsel/Asst. Prosecutor assigned to MCCSB Lori Shells-Simmons, Assistant Prosecutor Tia Jackson
February is Black History Month, and during this month, it is important to reflect on what it means to celebrate black history and what it took for black people across this country to get to where they are today. Mahoning County has many thriving black businesses, scholars, law enforcement officials, lawyers, and more. This month, our office wants to shed light on some of our black attorneys and recognize how much their contributions mean to this office, county, and the state of Ohio. This month, we would like to recognize a handful of our employees for their continued effort to improve this office and Mahoning County.
Marilyn Lane Is employed as Victim Witness Coordinator Felony Division since 2016. In this position, Lane provides information and support to crime victims/witnesses as they proceed through the judicial process. A variety of services can include notifications of events, setting up pertinent meetings, assistance with crime victim compensation, post convictions issues, the court of appeals information, and referrals.
Lane’s previous employment has included Public School Educator/Parity Reading/Math, Grass Roots Director, Addiction Therapist/Clinical Supervisor for Private Prisons and Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Correction and other outpatient/inpatient facilities, and served as a member of The Drug Court at Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Lane graduated from Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters of Education from Pennsylvania State University. Lane is also a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor with the State of Ohio.
Alan Rodges, Director of Communications and Community Outreach, was born in Lake St. Louis, MO, but later moved to Orchard Park, NY. Upon graduating from Orchard Park High School, he moved to Youngstown, OH, to attend Youngstown State University. He graduated from YSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a minor in Political Science. He then received his Master of Arts degree in Professional Communication, also from YSU.
Upon graduating from YSU, Mr. Rodges was hired as a Multimedia Content Producer at local WFMJ21 and later moved on to WOIO19 in Cleveland as a News Producer. Mr. Rodges joined Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office as the Public Information Specialist and was promoted to the Director of Communications and Community Outreach. He works closely with the Victim Witness and Domestic Violence Program. Mr. Rodges is a member of the YSU Alumni Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.
Lisa Jordan has been employed by the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office as the Victim Witness Coordinator for the Juvenile Division since 2005. Lisa graduated from Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work.
Her position allows her to assist victims by providing relevant information regarding their court involvement and supporting them through the judicial process.
Lisa is also a Rape Crisis Advocate for Compass Family and Community Services; victims/survivors are provided crisis intervention and follow-up services at the local hospitals. Lisa’s previous employment as a Victim’s Advocate was at Sojourner House, the Shelter that provides Domestic Violence Programs and Safety to victims and survivors. Another program of Compass Family and Community Services. She is also a Registered Advocate with the Ohio Advocate Network.
Tia Jackson grew up in Newark, Ohio, with two older brothers and loving parents. As a child, she knew she wanted a career in Juvenile Law. In 2016, she was one step closer when she became a student at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated in 2019.
She obtained a position as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Juvenile Division of the Prosecutor’s Office in Licking County, Ohio, shortly after passing the Ohio State Bar Exam in 2019. In 2021, after marrying her caring husband, Jarell Jackson, Tia became Assistant Prosecutor in Mahoning County stationed at Mahoning County Children Services to pursue further her passion and mission to help juveniles and families who find themselves involved in the Juvenile Justice System.
Lori L. Shells Simmons was born in Youngstown, Ohio, to Rev. Lawrence and Artesia Shells on March 18, 1963. One of 4 daughters, she was raised in the church her father, Rev. Shells, founded, Christian Bible Baptist Church in Youngstown, Ohio.
After graduating from Cardinal Mooney High School in 1981, she attended The University of Akron, majoring in pre-medicine, achieving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1985. Changing her mind about career choices, she attended The University of Akron’s School of Law in 1988 and concurrently The University of Akron’s Graduate School, achieving a joint Juris Doctorate and Master’s in Public Administration in 1991.
Subsequently, after passing the Ohio State Bar Exam in November 1991, she joined the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office as an Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor assigned to the Mahoning County Juvenile Court. As a result, Juvenile and Family law became her passion, always striving to ensure that justice was the result. After being assigned ten years in juvenile court, she was transferred to the Court of Common Pleas for two years.
After that, she moved to Mahoning County Children Services Board as the Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor assigned there, where she still is present. Atty. Shells Simmons is also avidly involved in the community as well, currently holding memberships on several community boards, such as YSU’s IRB (Institutional Review Board), Mahoning County Bar Association, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, The National Bar Association, The National Black Prosecutor’s Association, The Ohio Prosecutor’s, Association, The Diversity Committee at CSB and the National District Attorney’s Association.
Very active in her church, New Bethel Baptist Church in Youngstown, she is a newly nominated Deaconess and training to be a Sunday School Teacher. She is also Asst. Director for the church’s Vacation Bible School. Further, she is a board member of NBC Visions, an affiliated non-profit organization. A wife to Dwayne Simmons and proud parent of a 21-year-old daughter, Geordyn, and 27-year-old son, George, Atty. Shells Simmons strives to keep God first while she dispenses justice and reunifies families.