Bandstra to leave COA

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Richard A. Bandstra will step down from the bench Jan. 8, 2011.

Bandstra says he wants more family time and, perhaps, a different line of work with either government or a non-profit agency.

“Working with respected colleagues on important matters of law has to be one of the best opportunities available in all of Michigan government,” he said.

“But I recently turned 60 and feel that, if I want to pursue any other career objectives, now is the time to do it.”

Bandstra has been on the court for 16 years. He was first elected in 1994. He served as Chief Judge Pro Tem from 1997-99 and was appointed Chief Judge from 1999-2001.

His current term on the court would have expired Jan. 1, 2015.

Bandstra hopes his time on the COA will be remembered for his “defense of the proposition that the proper role of the judiciary is to interpret the law, not impose one’s personal choices about policy.

“That is a judge’s role in fidelity to the Constitution.”

In addition to his time on the COA, Bandstra had a nine-year legislative career.

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1984 and represented the 75th District, comprising the eastern half of Grand Rapids, from 1985-1994. Bandstra was floor leader from 1993-1994.

He also served as vice-chair of the House Judiciary Committee from 1987-1994.

His legislative achievements include the 1988 Community Dispute Resolution Act, which established a statewide program for mediation centers throughout Michigan.

In 1992, he chaired the Task Force on Civil Justice Reform for the American Legislative Council. He also served on the 21st Century Commission on the Courts, which proposed reforms of Michigan’s trial and appellate court system, in 1990.

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