WASHTENAW COUNTY <br>TRIAL COURT

Washtenaw County Trial Court
101 E. Huron St., PO Box 8645
Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8645
(734) 222-3270
tcadmin@ewashtenaw.org

 

Trial Court Judges

 

L-R:Brown, Wheeler, Connors, Kuhnke, Swartz, O'Brien, Shelton

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.



The Honorable Archie C. Brown

6 year term expires January, 2017

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 was appointed by Governor John Engler to the 15th District Court in March of 1997 and subsequently was appointed to the Washtenaw County Circuit Court in March of 1999. He is currently assigned to the Family Division, the Washtenaw Business Court - Civil Division and Criminal Division of the Court.Judge Archie C. Brown

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 organizations.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3376
Fax:  734-222-3032

Judicial Coordinator: Tracy Feeman

Judicial Attorney:  Laura Goderis



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The Honorable Timothy P. Connors

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 teaches at the University of Michigan Law School, Wayne State University Law School, and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  He trains new judges on child welfare issues for the Michigan Judicial Institute and the State Court Administrative Office.  He is the author of OurJudge Timothy P. Connors Children are Sacred, Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Matters; American Bar Association Judges Journal, Spring 2011 and Crow Dogs vs. Spotted Tail: Case Closed?; Michigan Bar Journal, July 2010.

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.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3361
Fax:  734-222-3082

Judicial Coordinator: Sherry Fire

Judicial Attorney:  Jennifer Sullivan



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The Honorable Nancy C. Wheeler (Francis)

6 year term expires January, 2015

Judge Nancy C. Wheeler is currently serving a six year term as a probate judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court, a position she has held since being appointed in 1990. Her docket currently consists of family law case and appeals to the circuit court.

Judge Nancy C. Francis

Judge Wheeler was the first African-American in the Washtenaw County judiciary.

She was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and she graduated from Ann Arbor St. Thomas High School and received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. After her undergraduate studies, and before attending law school, Judge Wheeler served as a volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Peru. She was an activist for civil rights and liberties throughout her adult life and before becoming a judge practiced law for 16 years primarily representing low and moderate income citizens through a unique, locally-funded, comprehensive legal services program.

Judge Wheeler is the recipient of a number of awards including the Sojourner Truth National Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Negro and Professional Women and Medal for Excellence in Bi-Lingual Literacy through the South American Literacy Society.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3351
Fax:  734-222-3391

Judicial Coordinator: Lynn Kneer

Judicial Attorney:  Bruce Crews



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The Honorable Carol Kuhnke

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.

Judge Carol KuhnkeAs 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.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3386
Fax:  734-222-6952

Judicial Coordinator: Betty Jo Spiers-Beeding

Judicial Attorney:  Louise-Annette Marcotty



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The Honorable Darlene A. O'Brien

6 year term expires January, 2019

Judge Darlene A. O’Brien was appointed Washtenaw County Probate Judge by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm 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. 

Judge Darlene A. O'BrienO’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 its 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 has served on the Probate Council for the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan since 2009 and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Probate Judges Association since 2011.  Her docket includes criminal and domestic relations cases.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3006
Fax:  734-222-6952

Judicial Coordinator: Debra Crocker

Judicial Attorney:  Teresa Killeen



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The Honorable Donald E. Shelton

6 year term expires January, 2015

Judge Donald E. Shelton has been a Circuit Judge since 1990. He served as Chief Judge of the Trial Court from 2010 - 2013. A circuit judge since 1990, Judge Shelton is also the presiding judge of the Civil/Criminal and Juvenile divisions of the Trial Court.

Judge Shelton has a distinguished record of public service including serving as a member of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents from 1987-1990, serving as mayor of the City of Saline from 1978-1986, and chairing the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) from 1983-1985. A long-time resident of the Saline area, he also has been a member of the city's planning commission, urban design commission, economic development corporation, and tax increment finance authority. Saline's "Shelton Industrial Park" was named for him in recognition of his community efforts.

Judge Donald E. Shelton

Born in Jackson, Judge Shelton earned his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University, his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School, his Masters degree in Criminology from Eastern Michigan University, and his PhD in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada. He served as a captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps from 1969-1974, earning the Meritorious Service Medal in 1974

He is the author of several legal texts and has had numerous articles published in professional publications. In 2007, Judge Shelton received the Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Servant Award presented by the State Bar of Michigan. In 1994, he was nominated as a candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court. In 1992 he received the “Justice Blair Moody Judge of the Year" Award. Prior to joining the circuit bench, Judge Shelton was a partner in an Ann Arbor law firm and received the "Attorney of the Year" Award from the Washtenaw Trial Lawyers Association.

Judge Shelton has been an adjunct criminology and political science professor at Eastern Michigan University since 1997 and has written for and lectured at numerous academic and professional organizations throughout the United States.

Follow the link for  Judge Shelton's complete resume.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3399
Fax:  734-222-3362

Judicial Coordinator: Christine Tait

Judicial Attorney:  Kelly Roberts



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The Honorable David S. Swartz

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.

Judge David S. SwartzBorn 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.

Information:

Court Calendar

Signed Orders List

Motion Policy

Contacts:

Office:  734-222-3392
Fax:  734-222-3048

Judicial Coordinator: Lisa Kuebler

Judicial Attorney:  JoAnne Barron



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