MJA announces 2012 officers

Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge Timothy G. Hicks will preside as president of the Michigan Judges Association for 2012.

Hicks was a teacher before beginning his legal career in 1983. He practiced law for 13 years before his appointment to the bench in 1996. Hicks is a former chief judge of the Muskegon circuit and teaches classes for the Michigan Judicial Institute. Hicks has served on the MJA’s executive committee since 1998.

Joining Hicks in MJA’s 2012 leadership positions:

  • President Elect: Judge Lita Masini Popke, Wayne County
  • Vice-President: Judge Stephen D. Gorsalitz, Kalamazoo County
  • Secretary: Judge Paul E. Hamre, Van Buren County
  • Treasurer: Judge Colleen A. O’Brien, Oakland County

High court reappoints two Oakland judges

Two Oakland County judges were recently reappointed to two-year terms for their benches by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Hon. Nanci J. Grant was reappointed chief judge of the circuit court in for a two-year term effective Jan. 1, 2012, as her first term as chief judge nears an end. She was the youngest woman ever elected to a Michigan circuit court when she won the circuit bench in 1996.

Grant was president of the Michigan Judges Association in 2006, and is vice chair of the Judicial Tenure Commission.

Also, Hon. Linda Hallmark was given another term as chief judge for the Oakland Probate Court, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

First appointed to the probate bench in December 1997, she was named chief judge of the probate court in 2000 and served two consecutive two-year terms. She also was presiding judge of the circuit court’s family division from 2000-04.

Hallmark serves on the executive committee of the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, in addition to the executive board of Michigan Inter-Professional Association and the Michigan Family Court Forum.

Chief Justice Young to address House Judiciary Committee

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. and Michigan State Court Administrator Chad C. Schmucker will give a presentation on the 2011 State Court Administrative Office Judicial Resources Recommendations to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m..

Earlier this year, the SCAO recommended eliminating 45 trial and four Court of Appeals judgeships. The proposal was backed by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Judges Association, Michigan Probate Judges Association, Michigan District Judges Association and the Michigan Judicial Conference.

In addition to Young and Schmucker’s presentation, the committee will consider a package of bills that would implement some of the SCAO’s recommendations:

  • HB 5075 would eliminate a circuit court judgeship in the 27th Circuit, which covers Newaygo and Oceana counties. The bill would also eliminate district judgeships in Lake and Mason counties have the probate judges in those counties also serve as district court judges.
  • HB 5071 would eliminate judgeships in districts of Wexford/Missaukee and Grand Traverse/Antrim/Leelanau counties.
  • HB 5072 would eliminate judgeships in districts of Schoolcraft/Alger, Houghton/Keweenaw/Baraga and Ontonagon/Gogebic counties.
  • HB 5073 would eliminate one district judgeship in Ingham County and two in Genesee County.
  • HB 5074 would eliminate one district judgeship in Shiawassee County.
  • SB 416 would eliminated one circuit court judgeship in the 3rd Judicial Circuit (Wayne County), one district court judgeship in the 26th Judicial District (River Rouge and Ecorse) and one district court judgeship in the 85th Judicial District (Manistee and Benzie Counties).

    The bill also would split the existing 85th Judicial District into two distinct districts: the 85th-A and 85th-B. The 85th-A district would consist of Manistee County, while the 85th-B district would consist of Benzie County. In the 85th-A and 85th-B districts, the existing probate judges would take on the powers and duties of district court judges within their respective counties.

Three other bills that would eliminate other probate, district and circuit court judgeships are pending introduction.

Who’s a great judge? Let the state know

The Michigan Judges Association is looking to honor a current or former circuit and/or Court of Appeals judge who demonstrates excellence in trial practice, scholarship, and service to the community and profession.

The inaugural award will be presented at the State Court Administrative Office Fall Conference in Lansing. Recipients will be chosen on the basis of competence in docket management and managing trials, contributions to the profession, contributions to legal scholarship, and/or contributions to the community.

Nominations will be evaluated by a committee consisting of attorneys and both current and former judges.

A nomination form may be downloaded and printed at www.michiganjudgesassociation.org.  Nominations should include the form, nominee’s curriculum vitae/resume, and any supporting letters or information.

Deadline is July 30. Nominations may be faxed to Thomas Oatmen at (231) 724-4587, e-mailed to oatmenth@co.muskegon.mi.us, or mailed to: Thomas G. Oatmen, Law Library, 6th Floor, 990 Terrace St., Muskegon, MI 49442-3357

For more information, contact Timothy G. Hicks at (231) 724-6337 or hicks@co.muskegon.mi.us.