Judicial Elections May Impact Washtenaw County

The 2020 election season will present many changes to Washtenaw County. With Ann Arbor and its surrounding cities playing a vital role in our criminal justice system, the 2020 Judicial Elections will be one of the most important in recent years.

The main reason for these contested elections is the retirement of 14-B District Court Judge Charles Pope and Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge David Swartz. These openings, coupled with a hotly contested prosecutorial election between Arianne Slay, Eli Savit, and Hugo Mack is making these elections pivotal to our criminal justice system. To gain insight into these elections and how they may shape the future of Washtenaw County, we spoke to several of the top criminal lawyers in the state of Michigan.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates, which is a firm known as the top criminal defense team in our state. When asked about the elections, Grabel said, “Judge David Swartz is someone that has always been an excellent voice in the Washtenaw Circuit Court. There are a lot of candidates running, and I can only hope that whoever takes his spot on the bench does so with the same fairness that Judge Swartz has always provided. We do a substantial amount of work in Washtenaw County, and it has always been a good place to practice. To keep that tradition in place will be in the best interest of justice.”

William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates in Wayne County, Michigan. Amadeo was rumored to run for either the 14-B or the Washtenaw Circuit Bench early on but provided insight when he said, “I’m truly going to miss Judge Pope. What an incredible human being. He has taught me and others so much. I planned to run for his seat until Erane Washington threw her hat in the ring. Erane would be an amazing addition to our District Court, and she will have my full support. As for the circuit court bench, Amy Reiser announced that she was running early on in the race. Amy and I have had our battles, but she is highly qualified, and it would be hard to find a better option for her to take over for Judge Swartz. Change can be a good thing, and I feel that both Erane and Amy are worthy candidates and more qualified than myself at this point in my career.”

Matthew McManus is the managing member of McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is known as one of the top research attorneys in the state of Michigan. When asked about the judicial elections in his home county, McManus was quoted as saying, “Much of my work is in our circuit court. The importance of having an objective voice to analyze motions is of the utmost importance. With that started, Amy Reiser has been fair as a prosecutor, and I will that she will be objective with a civil docket as well. As for 14-B, it’s hard not to admire the career of Erane Washington.”

Scott Grabel added, “We see a lot of changes to the bench, and whenever that happens, it will be our job to adjust to the new styles. Our firm has made it a priority to learn every county in Michigan and Washtenaw County has always been a priority. There are a lot of great candidates in this election. Regardless of who prevails, defense lawyers need to be at the top of their game.”

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