Leadership Changes Set at Trial Court

David S. Swartz has been named chief judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court, effective Jan. 1, 2014. The appointment was made by the Michigan Supreme Court and announced in a press release issued on Oct. 24 by court administrator Dan Dwyer.

Swartz will replace current chief judge Donald Shelton, who has served in that position for four years. Because of his age, Shelton will be ineligible for re-election when his term ends next year. The state constitution requires that judicial candidates at the time of election must be younger than 70 years old. According to the press release, as of Jan. 1 Shelton will be presiding judge of of the trial court’s civil/criminal division through the end of 2014, when his term expires. He will also oversee the implementation of a new case management software system and the roll-out of e-filing.

Swartz has served as a trial court judge since 1997 and was chief judge from 2008-2009. He is currently chief judge pro tempore, a role that will be taken over by judge Carol Kuhnke on Jan. 1. She will also serve as presiding judge of the family division. That position is currently held by judge Archie Brown.

Other trial court judges are Timothy Connors, Darlene A. O’Brien, and Nancy Wheeler, who is on medical leave. Earlier this month, the court announced that retired judge Charles Nelson would be serving as a full-time visiting judge, taking on Wheeler’s docket.