Judge leaves circuit bench for federal post


Chrzanowski to move in June after murder trial

Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Mary Chrzanowski, tagged with the nickname “Scary Mary” from her work on area drug courts and her blunt comments from the bench, has accepted an appointment as a federal administrative law judge.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Chrzanowski said. “It has been a privilege serving on the Macomb bench for over 23 years and I cannot think of a better way to continue my career in public service. I am honored to have been chosen for this post.”

Chrzanowski was originally asked to report to her new position by Feb. 8, according to a court news release, but requested, and was granted, an extension.

A primary reason for the request, according to a court spokesman, was that the judge was involved in jury selection on a murder trial and uncertain whether the trial would be finished in time.

Her start date in the new federal post is June 26.

In June of 2014, Chrzanowski was featured on NBC’s Dateline and interviewed by Lester Holt. The segment, “Scary Mary Presiding,” focused on Chrzanowski’s life and work with the Warren and Macomb County Juvenile Drug Courts. 

Chrzanowski received a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, graduating ‘with distinction’ in 1982 from Wayne State University.  She earned her law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1985.

After working as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Macomb County, Chrzanowski was elected to the circuit court in November 1992 and was subsequently re-elected in 1998, 2004 and 2010 for full six-year terms.

Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge James Biernat Jr. said Chrzanowski “has served the people of Macomb well through her tremendous passion and dedication.

“We are happy for her and wish her well in her new role,” he said. “She will be missed here in Macomb County.”

Another member of the bench,  Judge Diane Druzinski, said Chrzanowski “has an extraordinary work ethic and has earned this appointment.”

Circuit Court Judge Edward Servitto noted he had sponsored Chrzanowski’s admission to the bar and has enjoyed “watching her grow from a young lawyer to the respected jurist she has become.”