Trial Court judges are elected for terms of six years in non-partisan elections. A candidate must be a qualified elector, a resident of the judicial circuit, a lawyer who has been licensed to practice law for at least five years, and under 70 years of age.
Judge Archie Cameron Brown served as both the Chief Judge of the
Washtenaw County Circuit Court from 2002 to 2007 and Chief Judge of the
Washtenaw County Probate Court from 2004 to 2007. He previously served as
Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court from 2002 to 2004.
Judge Brown has served as Parliamentarian of the Representative Assembly of the State Bar of Michigan, after having served in the Assembly for two terms. He has served on the Rules Committee of the Michigan Judges Association, is a past Chair of the Washtenaw County Criminal Justice Collaborative Council and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Judge Brown is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Bar Association, Washtenaw County Bar Association, Michigan Judges Association, American Judges Association, American Judicature Society, the Federalist Society, the Catholic Lawyers Guild, and is a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation.
An Ann Arbor native, Judge Brown
received his Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit School of Law, and
his Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University. He has
served on the Boards of several civic and charitable community
6 year term expires January, 2019
Judge Tim Connors has been a State Court Judge since 1991. He
served as Chief Judge of the 15th District Court from 1991 to 1997. He
served as Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court from
1998-2001. He currently serves as the presiding judge of
the Probate division of the Trial Court.
Judge Connors is a three time recipient of the Justice Blair Moody Award for Significant Contributions to Judicial Excellence. In 2012 he received the Appreciation Award from the Wayne State Law School Native American Law Students Association. In 2011, he was awarded the Tecumseh Peacekeeping Award for Dedicated Service to Protecting the Rights of American Indians from the Michigan State Bar Indian Law Section. He also recieved the Integrity in the Community Award from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Judge Connors was presented with the Patriot Award for Outstanding Service to the Bench, the Bar, and the Community from the Washtenaw County Bar Association in 2009.
Judge Connors serves on the National Executive Board for Midwest Eye Banks. He is a member of the Thomas M. Cooley Professionalism Advisory Committee. Judge Connors is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Tribal Leadership Forum. He has served by appointment as Judge Pro Tem for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. He is the current State Chair of the Irish Perennial Rescue Society. Judge Connors is a 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee for National Gus Macker. In 2002, Judge Connors was inducted into the Ann Arbor Huron High School Hall of Fame as a distinguished graduate.
6 year term expires January, 2019
Judge Carol Kuhnke was elected by the voters of Washtenaw County in 2012 and took the bench on January 1, 2013. She holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and history of art from the University of Michigan, and a juris doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is currently the Chief Judge Pro Tem of the Trial Court and presiding judge of the Domestic Division of the Trial Court.
As an attorney in private practice, she worked in large and small firms before founding the law firm of Davis & Kuhnke, PC in 1997. She worked in civil litigation for a total of 19 years before becoming a judge.
Judge Kuhnke has been active in numerous legal and community organizations. She belongs to the Michigan Association for Justice, the Women Lawyers Association, Washtenaw Association for Justice, American Constitution Society, and NAACP Ann Arbor branch. Before taking the bench, Judge Kuhnke served on the Washtenaw County Board of Election Canvassers. She served 13 years on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of Ann Arbor, six years as the chair, and upon taking the bench she was proclaimed Retired Emeritus Chair by Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje.
Judge Kuhnke currently hears civil and domestic relations matters, as well as PPOs.
Term expires January, 2015
Judge Julia B. Owdziej was appointed Probate Judge on June 2, 2014 and
currently hears the entire Probate Docket and a portion of domestic
6 year term expires January, 2019
Judge Darlene A. O’Brien was appointed Washtenaw County Probate Judge in 2006 and won election later that year. She earned her bachelors degree summa cum laude from University of Toledo in 1977, and graduated in 1980 from Notre Dame Law School. Following a federal judicial clerkship, O’Brien began private practice in Michigan in 1981. She had an active trial practice for 24 years, representing clients in criminal and civil matters including those heard in probate and family court. She was admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court, E.D. Mich., as well as the U. S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
O’Brien also taught trial practice for Institute of Continuing Legal Education, including its Deposition Skills seminars and authored the “Pleading” chapter in the Michigan Causes of Action treatise for ICLE. She has civil court mediator training and served as a case evaluator for the 15th District Court. In 2005, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Washtenaw Chapter presented O’Brien with the Mary E. Foster award for her leadership and contributions to women and in 2007 was presented the Bernard J. O’Connor award by the Dispute Resolution Center for the just and humane resolution of human disputes. Cooley Law School recognized her in 2012, as Integrity in the Community Honoree.
Judge O’Brien belongs to the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Washtenaw County Bar Association, the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy and Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. She has served on the board of the Center for Occupational and Personalized Education from 1994-2009, including terms as president, vice-president, secretary and executive committee member. She has also been active on the board of Ann Arbor’s Neutral Zone teen center from 2004-2010.
Judge O'Brien served on the Probate Council for the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan from 2009-2013 and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Probate Judges Association since 2011. Her docket includes criminal and domestic relations cases.
6 year term expires January, 2015
Judge David S. Swartz serves as Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court.
Judge Swartz was appointed to the 14A District Court Bench by Governor Engler in January of 1995, and was then appointed to the Circuit Court in April, 1997.
Born in Ann Arbor, Judge Swartz earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University in 1969, and a Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University Law School in 1972.
Prior to coming to the bench, the Judge's career was entirely devoted to litigation. Judge Swartz served as an Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor from 1973 to 1982. Thereafter, he spent the next thirteen years as a civil litigator in private practice.
In addition to the State Bar of Michigan, where he served as a member of the Representative Assembly, Judge Swartz is a past president of the Washtenaw County Bar Association and a Life Fellow of the State Bar Foundation.