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Hon. Annette J. Berry was elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court bench in November 2000 and reelected in 2006, 2012, and 2018. Since 2013, Judge Berry has served in the Civil Division, after serving in the Criminal Division from 2001 to 2013. Judge Berry received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her JD from Michigan State University Law School, formerly the Detroit College of Law. In 1988 she joined the Office of the Michigan Attorney General after being appointed as an assistant attorney general by Frank J. Kelly. During her distinguished career with the Department of Attorney General, Judge Berry served as legal counsel ...
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Charlene M. Elder has served as a judge for the Wayne County Third Circuit Court since 2005. She currently sits in the Family Division of the court, handling a variety of domestic relations cases involving divorce, child custody, and personal protection matters. Judge Elder is one of three judges who helped initiate the Domestic Violence Prevention Court, designed to offer a wide range of services to victims of domestic violence who obtain personal protection orders against their perpetrators. When is your motion call?  Wayne County motion call day is Friday; however, I will hear motions on other days of the week as well. The number of motions ...
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Hon. Lita Masini Popke has been a judge in Wayne County Circuit Court since 2000, with a combined docket of general civil and business court cases. Her prior service includes chief judge pro tem (2009-2013); executive committee (2005-2013, 2016-present); presiding judge, family division (2005-2007); and Mediation Tribunal Association board member. Judge Popke has also held various positions outside the court, including president of the Michigan Judges Association (MJA) (2013); cochair of the MJA civil and business law committee; member, Judicial Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2009-present); member of the Child Support Leadership Council by appointment ...
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Chief Judge Kathleen M. Brickley Van Buren County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Brickley is the chief judge of the Van Buren County courts. She was appointed to the 36th Circuit Court bench in 2012 and elected that year to a six-year term, serving in the criminal division. From 1990 to 2012, Judge Brickley was in private practice in Kalamazoo. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, chair of the Van Buren Community Corrections Advisory Board, cochair of the Michigan Judges Association Criminal Committee, and a member of the Michigan Judicial Institute Academic Advisory Committee, the Michigan Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee and Policy ...
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              Hon. Joseph J. Farah practiced law for 18 years before being appointed to the Genesee County Circuit Court in 1998. He was originally assigned to the Family Division, handling domestic and juvenile cases until 2005, and is currently assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division. Along with being a member of the judiciary, Judge Farah has taught a dozen law school classes concerning the law of evidence and has been a regular presenter to lawyers and judges concerning evidence and many other topics in and outside of Michigan. He is a former board member of the Michigan Judges Association, the Michigan ...
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​ Judge Julia B. Owdziej was appointed to the Washtenaw County Probate Court in 2014. She currently serves as Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division. She holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law. Judge Owdziej began her legal career as an Assistant Michigan Attorney General. She began serving the citizens of Washtenaw County in 1991 as an Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney. In 1999 she was appointed a Washtenaw County Trial Court Referee and later added the duties of Washtenaw County Juvenile Drug Court Referee and Deputy Probate Register. When is your ...
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Judge Karen Quinlan Valvo was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court in January 2016. She presides over criminal and traffic cases and the specialized Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court dockets. What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? An attorney who is not truthful in presenting his or her client’s case jeopardizes not only the results for the client, but loses credibility. A close second is routinely appearing late for a docket, thereby inconveniencing the court, the client, and the opposing party. What is the best thing a lawyer can do in court? An attorney who comes to court on time, having kept his or her client ...
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Judge Marcy A. Klaus was elected to the Probate and Family Court for the 17th District in November 2012. Her docket includes probate, family, and juvenile matters. She splits her time between the Clare County courthouse (Harrison) and the Gladwin County courthouse (Gladwin). A native of Clare, Judge Klaus practiced family and probate law in a firm with her father and husband before becoming a judge. Judge Klaus serves on the Executive Committee of the Michigan Probate Judges Association and is President of the Central Michigan Judges Association.  What are the best and worst things a lawyer can do in your court? We have a very busy docket, and ...
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Hon. Patrick J. Conlin, Jr. Washtenaw County Circuit Court 101 E. Huron St. Ann Arbor ,  MI   48104 Phone: (734) 222-3399 Fax: (734) 222-3362   Hon. Patrick J. Conlin, Jr., was elected by voters in 2014 and took the bench on January 2, 2015. He is assigned family law cases, personal protection orders, and juvenile court backup. He previously worked at the law firm of Keusch and Flintoft, PC, focusing his practice on family law matters, probate and general civil litigation, and transactional work. Judge Conlin is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, and the Washtenaw County Bar Association (past president). ...
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   Hon. Cheryl A. Matthews was elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court bench in 2004. She is currently assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division, but had previously served in the Family Division. Before that, she served in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, first as an assistant prosecuting attorney (1991- 1997), then as chief of the Child Sexual Assault Section (1997- 2004). During that time, Judge Matthews also served as an instructor at the Oakland Police Academy. She was appointed by the governor to the Michigan Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children (2014-2015), was appointed to the Governor's Task Force on Children's Justice ...
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Hon. Timothy G. Hicks Muskegon County Circuit Court 990 Terrace St STE 325 Muskegon, Michigan 49442-3357 Phone: (231) 724-6337 Fax: (231) 724-4587 Hon. Timothy G. Hicks taught, counseled, and coached at two rural schools before starting his law career in 1983. He practiced law for 13 years before his appointment to the 14th Circuit Court (Muskegon County) in 1996, serving as chief judge from 1998 to 2003. Judge Hicks is active in the Michigan Judges Association and served as its president in 2012. He was one of 12 state court judges who, from 2008 through 2010, piloted innovations in the conduct of jury trials. Judge Hicks ...
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Judge Paul Denenfeld, Kent County Circuit Court, Family Division Judge Paul Denenfeld took the bench in 2009. Judge Denenfeld was previously a partner at Yates, LaGrand & Denenfeld, PLLC. For nearly 10 years, he was a civil rights and civil liberties attorney in Detroit. Judge Denenfeld has also spent considerable time working on the rule of law in several former Soviet republics. What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? To not be prepared. A lawyer should, at a minimum, know the applicable statutes and court rules in the matter before the court and have copies of them at the hearing so they can be discussed if necessary. What ...
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Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford , United States District Court--Eastern District of Michigan  Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford joined the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2014. Judge Stafford previously worked at a private law firm, as a career law clerk for Judge Victoria A. Roberts, and as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? The worst thing a lawyer can do is become belligerent with a judge. This is especially true when the judge is trying to explain something or ask a particular question and the lawyer is not really listening. The lawyer can’t ...
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Hon. Cynthia A. Lane, St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Lane sits on the bench of the  St. Clair County Circuit Court . She was elected to this position on November 2, 2010, effective January 1, 2011. She replaced retired Judge Peter Deegan. Lane received her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and was licensed to practice law in 1980. Lane practiced law for 30 years before her election to the Circuit Court bench. At that time, she was serving as am attorney and circuit court mediator in St. Clair County. Hon. Cynthia A. Lane on Ballotpedia What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? The worst thing a lawyer ...
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Judge Judith E. Levy , United States District Court—Eastern District of Michigan   Judge Levy is a district judge whose primary chambers are in Ann Arbor. Judge Levy was appointed to the federal bench in 2014. Before serving on the Eastern District Court, Judge Levy was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan.     What are the worst and best things a lawyer can do in your court?   The best things a lawyer can do are arrive on time, be prepared for the matter by knowing both the facts and the law applicable to the case, and be respectful of everyone she or he ...
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Judge David M. Murkowski, Chief Judge, Kent County Probate Court The Honorable David M. Murkowski was appointed to the Kent County Probate Court in 2006 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Janet A. Haynes. Before his appointment, Judge Murkowski specialized in criminal defense, juvenile neglect and delinquency, and probate law, and he served as managing partner of Dilley, Dilley, Murkowski & Goller. Before working in private practice, Judge Murkowski served as law clerk to the Michigan House of Representatives Civil Rights Committee. The Michigan Supreme Court appointed Judge Murkowski to serve as the chief judge of the Kent ...
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Judge Joyce A. Draganchuk Ingham County Circuit Court Lansing, Michigan   Judge Joyce A. Draganchuk is the presiding judge of the General Trial Division as well as a Business Court judge of the Ingham County Circuit Court. Before her election to the bench in 2004, she served in the Ingham County prosecuting attorney's office for 16 years and was the chief assistant prosecutor from 2001 to 2004. Judge Draganchuk is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Ingham County Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, the American College of Business Court Judges, the Ingham County Bar Foundation, and the Michigan State University ...
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​ Judge Christopher P. Yates, Kent County Circuit Court Specialized Business Docket The Honorable Christopher P. Yates was appointed to the Kent County Circuit Court in 2008 and has served in both the Criminal/Civil Division and the Family Division. He was assigned to run the court's specialized business docket in 2012. Judge Yates is the immediate past president of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Before his judgeship, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge James P. Churchill of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and to Hon. Ralph B. Guy, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Yates also has worked ...
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  Judge Lawrence J. Paolucci, Wayne County Probate Court   Judge Lawrence J. Paolucci was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Wayne County Probate Court on October 22, 2015, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Chief Judge Milton L. Mack, Jr. Before his appointment to the bench, he served as the court attorney for the Wayne County Probate Court for 11 years. He graduated from Kenyon College (Ohio) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and obtained his law degree from Detroit College of Law, now Michigan State University College of Law. While in law school, he served as the judicial law clerk to the late Honorable Raymond ...
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Judge Michael D. Warren, Jr., was appointed to the Oakland County Circuit Court in December 2002 and elected to retain the position in 2004, 2006, and 2012. He is the presiding judge of the general civil and criminal division. He is the sponsor of the electronic data management system (e-filing) project of the Oakland County Circuit Court and the pilot judge for e-filing and the paperless courtroom. Judge Warren cofounded Patriot Week with his then 10-year-old daughter Leah (www.patriotweek.org) and is the author of "America's Survival Guide: How to Stop America's Impending Suicide by Reclaiming Our First Principles" (www.AmericasSurvivalGuide.com). He has ...
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