Washtenaw Dems Host Judicial Forum

The Washtenaw County Democratic Party is hosting a forum for candidates in county judicial races this morning (July 19, 2014) at 10 a.m. at the Pittsfield Township Hall on Michigan Avenue near Platt Road.

The Chronicle plans to provide a live audio broadcast from the event. The embedded live-stream player below will be replaced with an audio recording after the event is over.

Two contested races will appear on the ballot for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary – one for the circuit court and the other for the probate court.

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.

There’s no incumbent in this race. Pat ConlinVeronique 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.

On its Vote411.org website, the League of Women Voters has posted candidates’ written responses to questions: [22nd circuit court candidate responses] Community Television Network has recorded video playable on demand from the 22nd circuit court League of Women Voters forum.

The county probate judge handles largely estate cases, and issues regarding mental health and addiction.

Jane BassettTamara GarwoodConstance JonesTracy Van den Bergh and recently appointed judge Julia Owdziej will appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot. The nonpartisan primary will narrow the race to two candidates for the Nov. 4 general election.

Owdziej was appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Snyder just last month, on June 2, to fill the vacancy on the court left by Nancy Wheeler’s retirement. The announcement of that retirement came on May 1, after candidates had filed to run. Wheeler was expected to retire at the end of the year, but she stepped down earlier than expected due to health reasons. Bassett, Garwood and Jones currently work in private practice, while Van den Bergh is a staff attorney for a legal services nonprofit.

On its Vote411.org website, the LWV has posted candidates’ written responses to questions: [Probate court candidate responses] Community Television Network has recorded video playable on demand from the probate court League of Women Voters forum.

Listen to the July 19 forum live using the player below. Under the player are two text boxes, with identical content, which The Chronicle will use to provide notes about the live audio. The first box forces the view of the embedded text file to the bottom. The second box requires manual scrolling.

[.mp3 of Washt-Dems-Judicial-Forum-Probate]

[.mp3 of Washt-Dems-Judicial-Forum-Circuit]

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