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Posted on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Ann Arbor needs to keep a strong female voice on the circuit court

By Letters to the Editor

I am voting for Carol Kuhnke for circuit court and here’s why.


Ryan J. Stanton |

Carol has all the qualities needed in a judge. If you were involved in a civil, criminal or domestic case you would want her to be your judge. She has an extraordinary mind, is able to go to the heart of any issue, understand it, and arrive at the right result. Lawyers I have spoken with give her the highest possible marks—even those on the other side of cases.

Carol’s views are right for this community. She is progressive, pro-choice and pro-marriage equality.

Carol is the only woman running to fill the seat being vacated by Melinda Morris, who has been the only woman to ever serve on the five-member circuit court bench. We need to keep a woman on the bench. A woman’s voice must be heard in the court’s weekly private sessions and there must be a judge to hear other cases where other judges disqualify themselves. We don’t need to return to an all male bench.

Carol is an active volunteer participant in our community and in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, which her two adopted children attend. She is a single mom but always finds time to help her kids with their homework. For 20 years she has been working full time as a busy lawyer trying cases in courts in Southeastern Michigan. She also is volunteer chairperson of the Ann Arbor Zoning Board of Appeals, a board on which she has served for a dozen years. She treats every person coming before that board with respect and courtesy and is very patient in hearing all of the facts before helping the other members of the board reach the right result. She also is a volunteer election commissioner for Washtenaw County.

I urge you to vote for Carol Kuhnke on Nov. 6. Please remember to turn the ballot over and vote the non-partisan portion. Your vote for a straight party ticket does not include a vote for any judge.

Ray Detter

Chair, Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council

Ann Arbor


Peter Davis

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

I am Carol Kuhnke's law partner and have to say that while her opponent is a very nice man he does not have the experience or skills to be a trial court judge. Carol has tried circuit court cases for nearly 20 years and I don't believe Jim Fink has ever tried a single jury trial in his 14 years of practice. He's widely supported by the older generation of white male conservative lawyers and judges, all of whom practiced before his father (Judge Robert Fink, now deceased) and his brother (Judge Karl Fink, now retired). Carol on the other hand has earned and enjoyed years of respect from lawyers and judges working at all levels across the state. I have known her for over 16 years and can say she is smarter than most any judge or lawyer I have ever met. She is a woman totally without prejudice and has a keen intellect and a great work ethic. While she is a Democrat and Jim is a Republican I know for a fact that her politics are far more moderate than his. She was born to be a judge. If you want a truly non-partisan judge for Carol Kuhnke.

Martha's mom

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

I believe the role of a judge is to rule according to law. Judges, however, are often forced to interpret the law. It's not as simple as calling a strike in a ball game. Carol Kuhnke listens to people and is known to be fair. She has almost 20 years experience as a trial lawyer, working in the courts. My vote goes to the strongest leader, Carol Kuhnke.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 9:52 a.m.

My vote goes to a strong male leader, Jim Fink.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

As chance would have it I just got Jim Fink's latest mailer today. He loudly proclaims "THE COURTROOM IS NO PLACE FOR PARTISAN POLITICS!" Is he kidding us? Fink is the king of partisan politics. The Federal Election Commission shows that Fink has contributed thousands of dollar to not just mine-run Republican candidates but to extremist Tea Party candidates including Congressman Tim Walberg (who called himself "Michigan's First Tea Party Congressman"), cardiologist Rob Steele (who lost against John Dingell and runs this time for U of M Regent) and the disgraced former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Clifford "The Sleeping Judge" Taylor, who was a puppet for the insurance industry. Don't be fooled by Fink's endorsement by eight police unions and a voluntary bar association poll taken among just a handful of office lawyers who freely admitted they didn't know Kuhnke but did know Fink and who have never seen the inside of a courtroom.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

Vote Pro-Life, vote Fink!


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

Ray Detter is right. Carol Kuhnke is running on her reputation and experience. Jim Fink is running solely on his police work and his family name. His father and brother were both judges and his niece Elisha Fink, who is also an associate in his firm, was just appointed magistrate of the lower district court after the Fink family importuned 14th District Court Judge Kirk Tabbey to ask the County Commissioners to appoint her without going through the proper process of posting the position and inviting interested lawyers to apply for the post. The Finks seem to think they are entitled to the bench and have persuaded a doddering group of mostly retired Republican judges to endorse him. If you want a really great judge you will vote for Carol Kuhnke. If you want another mediocre judge you will vote for Jim Fink. I say three generations of Finks are enough.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:36 a.m.

"We need to keep a woman on the bench." How many would vote for Morris again? That didn't work that well. Vote for who you think will uphold the law not your views!

Silly Sally

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

This author wrote, this about a judge, "Carol's views are right for this community. She is progressive, pro-choice and pro-marriage equality..." This is exactly wrong. A judge's job is to decide if a law is broken or not,and to follow laws passed by legislators as long as they are constitutional . It is not to legislate from the bench. Imagine if in yesterday's in the World Series game that there were umpires that called a ball that was not over home plate a strike, just because they wanted to. Just as it is there job to decide if the ball is within the strike zone and the baseball commission to decide what that zone is to be, it is the role of judges to follow the laws passed by legislators and only deviate from them if they are found to be unconstitutional. Carol Kuhnke may be a fine person and also may be an excellent attorney and judge, but not for the reasons of this Op-Ed.

Milton Shift

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Judges are not computers, nor are they expected or even meant to be. Look at sentencing guidelines - emphasis, guidelines - if there is any doubt on this. It is entirely up to the judge's discretion. Many, many events in a courtroom are a judgment call, including whether a young teenage girl would be allowed to control her own body and choose to have an abortion. Fink was endorsed by Right to Life, which does not give endorsements to anyone except those who oppose abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. All the cops and prosecutors aren't endorsing Fink for nothing either - he will use the upper end of the sentencing range for marijuana cases, mark my words.

Silly Sally

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:38 a.m.

" Many, many events in a courtroom are a judgment call, including whether a young teenage girl would be allowed to control her own body and choose to have an abortion." This should be decided by ELECTED lawmakers not judges.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

I agree: Washtenaw County should not return to an all male bench. I have practiced law for 20 years in Washtenaw County and will be voting for Carol Kuhnke. Carol has shown herself to be an incredibly level-headed, hard-working attorney and mother with remarkable emotional stamina and drive. She has substantial complex litigation experience and has been successful in representing her clients. She understands the law, understands the rules, and most importantly, understands people of all kinds, as well as the complexity of living in a diverse community, one which will be increasingly diverse in the coming years. She has always seemed to be guided by a sense of fairness that comes from her core. She is, in short, the single most perfect match for Washtenaw County at this point in time and for the next 20 years. I am thrilled that she is running.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

Wow, male bigtory...


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

Many of the points in this endorsement assume a monolithic perspective from this community. Diversity is Ann Arbor's strength, including diversity of thought, and I think I will hold my diverse viewpoint in disagreement with Ray Detter. Casting my vote for James A. Fink, who will pass judgement based on law not on politics.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 9:36 a.m.

@MShift --- your attempt to discredit my opinion fails... that is his name. Educate yourself before you vote, or at least read the ballot before you scribble down your marks.

Milton Shift

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 3:37 a.m.

How can you pass judgment on what Jim Fink will do when you don't even know his name?

Milton Shift

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

There is no such thing as an unbiased judge. Spend some time in a courtroom and you will know this to be fact.