Stories indexed with the term ‘Mike Woodyard’

Circuit Court Race: Conlin, Woodyard, Liem

On July 7, 2014, three candidates vying to fill a vacancy on Washtenaw’s 22nd circuit court participated in a League of Women Voters forum.

Candidates for the circuit court judgeship from left: Michael Woodyard, Veronique Liem, Pat Conlin.

Candidates for the circuit court judgeship from left: Michael Woodyard, Veronique Liem, Pat Conlin.

Pat Conlin, Veronique Liem and Michael Woodyard will compete in the nonpartisan Aug. 5 primary, which will advance the top two candidates to the Nov. 4 general election. The winner of that contest will fill the open seat left by judge Donald Shelton, who turned 70 in June. According to Michigan state law, only a person under the age of 70 can be appointed or run for the position of judge.

The circuit court tries felonies and criminal matters, family law, and civil disputes where claims are greater than $25,000. However, the docket for this particular seat on the circuit court is heavily weighted toward family cases.

Conlin and Liem are local attorneys, while Woodyard works in the Wayne County prosecutor’s office. At the July 7 forum, the candidates fielded questions covered topics including: family, the visibility of the court and general judicial philosophy.

A second seat on the court is also up for election, as judge David Swartz is at the end of a six-year term. He is running uncontested to retain his 22nd circuit court incumbent seat.

On its website, the LWV has posted candidates’ written responses to questions: [22nd circuit court candidate responses]

At the July 7 LWV forum, the candidates made opening statements, answered six questions and then made closing statements. The forum was moderated by Miriam Eve Borenstein, with questions predetermined by the league after asking for public submissions.

Candidates’ remarks are summarized below. To view the recorded video from the 22nd circuit court LWV forum, use Community Television Network’s video on demand.  [Full Story]

22nd Circuit Court Race: Connors, Woodyard

Local and state judicial candidates were the focus of a June 23 forum hosted by the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.

Most of the two-hour session, held at the Pittsfield Township hall, was devoted to two 22nd Circuit Court races. Incumbent judge Tim Connors, who has served in that position since 1997, is being challenged by Mike Woodyard, an Ann Arbor resident and assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County.

Doug Kelley

Doug Kelley, a longtime Ann Arbor Democratic activist and member of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party executive committee, at the June 23 judicial forum in Pittsfield Township. (Photos by the writer.)

There is no incumbent running for another seat on the 22nd Circuit Court – because judge Melinda Morris is ineligible for re-election as she is past the statutory age limit of 70. Four local attorneys are vying for that judgeship: Erane Washington, Doug McClure, Carol Kuhnke and Jim Fink. Coverage of that candidate forum will be provided in a separate Chronicle report.

The four candidates for the open 22nd Circuit Court seat will compete in the Aug. 7 primary to narrow the field. The two candidates in that race who receive the most votes will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

All other local judicial candidates are incumbents who are unchallenged, and will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot: Cedric Simpson (14th District Court, Washtenaw County); Joe Burke (15th District Court, Ann Arbor); and Darlene O’Brien (probate court, Washtenaw County). They did not take part in the June 23 forum. These non-partisan judicial races are for six-year terms.

At the state level, candidates for Michigan Supreme Court are also on a non-partisan ballot, but they are nominated by political parties. Three positions on the seven-member court will be contested on Nov. 6, currently held by Democrat Marilyn Kelly and Republicans Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra, whose eight-year terms end on Jan. 1, 2013. Kelly is not seeking re-election because she’ll be past the age of 70. Markman and Zahra are running as incumbents, and the third GOP candidate will be selected at a state Republican convention in September.

In March, the state Democratic Party endorsed three candidates for Michigan Supreme Court: 46th District Court judge Shelia Johnson, Wayne County Circuit Court judge Connie Marie Kelley, and University of Michigan law professor Bridget Mary McCormack of Ann Arbor.

Of the three, only Johnson, a Southfield resident, attended the June 23 forum, telling the crowd of about 50 people that this year’s Michigan Supreme Court race is an historic election, and a chance to reverse the court’s current 4-3 majority. It’s the most important race on the ballot, she said, because the court’s decisions – from reproductive rights to environmental protection to emergency managers – affect everyone’s lives.

This article includes Johnson’s presentation at the June 23 forum, but begins with a report of the first 22nd Circuit Court race between Tim Connors and Mike Woodyard. [Full Story]