A look at candidates for the Michigan Court of Appeals

Biographical boxes on candidates for the Michigan Court of Appeals. All are incumbent judges. The districts are where candidates will appear on ballots.

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1st DISTRICT:

Calhoun, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, Wayne counties

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NAME: Cynthia Diane Stephens

AGE: 59 (Born Aug. 27, 1951)

RESIDENCE: Detroit

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, 1971, University of Michigan; law degree, 1976, Emory University law school.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Appointed to the appeals court by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, 2008; Wayne County circuit judge, 1985-2008; 36th District Court judge, 1981-85. Before becoming a judge, she was vice chair of the Wayne County Charter Commission and associate general counsel at the Michigan Senate.

PERSONAL: One child.

ONLINE: None.

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NAME: Kurtis T. Wilder

AGE: 51 (Born April 1959)

RESIDENCE: Wayne County's Canton Township

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in political science, University of Michigan, 1981; law degree, University of Michigan law school, 1984.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. John Engler, 1998; elected to the court in 2000, 2004; chief judge of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court; previously practiced law with the law firms of Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, PC in Lansing and with Butzel Long, PC in Detroit.

PERSONAL: N/A

ONLINE: None.

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2nd DISTRICT:

Shiawassee, Genesee, Oakland, Macomb counties

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NAME: Pat Donofrio

AGE: 66 (Born June 1944)

RESIDENCE: Macomb County's Macomb Township

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, Wayne State University, 1967; law degree, Wayne State University law school, 1970.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. John Engler, 2002; elected to court in 2004; Macomb County Circuit judge, 1997-2002; president of private law firm.

PERSONAL: Married to Charlene; two children.

ONLINE: None.

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3rd DISTRICT:

Newaygo, Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Ionia, Allegan, Barry, Eaton, Berrien, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Cass, St. Joseph, Branch, Jackson,

Washtenaw counties

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NAME: David H. Sawyer

AGE: 63 (Born July 14, 1947)

RESIDENCE: Grand Rapids

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, 1970, University of Arizona; law degree, Valparaiso University law school, 1973.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Elected to Court of Appeals in 1986; re-elected to court in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006; Kent County prosecutor 1977-86.

PERSONAL: Married to Elsbeth; two children.

ONLINE: None.

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NAME: Douglas B. Shapiro

AGE: 55 (Born Nov. 4, 1954)

RESIDENCE: Ann Arbor

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, University of Michigan, 1983; law degree, University of Michigan law school, 1986; also studied at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland.

POLITICAL CAREER: Appointed to Court of Appeals by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, 2009.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: In private practice with Muth and Fett PC in Ypsilanti, 1991-2009, becoming a partner in 1995; staff attorney, Center for Social Gerontology, Ann Arbor, 1991; assistant at the State Appellate Defenders Office in Detroit, 1989-90; law clerk to Michigan Supreme Court Justice James Brickley, 1986-89.

PERSONAL: Married to Jeannette; two children.

ONLINE: http://www.judgeshapiro.com

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NAME: Joel P. Hoekstra

AGE: 63 (Born May 1947)

RESIDENCE: Grand Rapids

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, Calvin College; law degree, Valparaiso University law school.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Elected to appeals court in 1994; re-elected in 1998, 2002 and 2006; district court judge in Kent County; Kent County assistant prosecutor.

PERSONAL: N/A.

ONLINE: None.

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4th DISTRICT:

Upper Peninsula; Ingham,

Livingston, Clinton, Lapeer,

St. Clair, Montcalm, Gratiot, Saginaw, Tuscola, Sanilac, Huron, Oceana, Mecosta, Isabella, Midland, Bay,

Mason, Lake, Osceola, Clare, Gladwin, Arenac, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee,

Roscommon, Ogemaw,

Iosco, Benzie, Leelanau,

Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona, Antrim, Otsego,

Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Emmet,

Cheboygan, Presque Isle

counties.

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NAME: Donald S. Owens

AGE: 66 (Born Dec. 25, 1943)

RESIDENCE: Williamston

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, 1966; master's degree, 1967; law degree, 1969, all from the University of Michigan.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Appointed to the Court of Appeals, by Gov. John Engler, 1999; elected in 2000, 2004. Ingham County probate judge, 1974-99; previously in private law practice.

PERSONAL: Married to Jeanie; four children.

ONLINE: None.

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NAME: William C. Whitbeck

AGE: 69 (Born Jan. 17, 1941)

RESIDENCE: Lansing

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in journalism, Northwestern University, 1963; law degree, University of Michigan law school, 1966.

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. John Engler, 1997; elected in 1998, 2004; two decades in private law practice as partner at Honigman Miller, Dykema Gossett, and McLellan, Schlaybaugh & Whitbeck; served in the administrations of Republican Govs. George Romney, William Milliken and Engler; U.S. Army Reserves, 1966-72.

PERSONAL: Married to Stephanie.

ONLINE: http://www.judgewhitbeck.com

Published: Thu, Oct 7, 2010

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