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Posted on Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Prosecutor Michael Woodyard to challenge Circuit Judge Timothy Connors for spot on bench

By Ryan J. Stanton

Local attorney and prosecutor Michael Woodyard has filed to run this fall for judge of the 22nd Circuit Court serving Washtenaw County.

Woodyard, who is the first candidate to come forward challenging Judge Timothy Connors, has spent the past decade working for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

"My years as a prosecutor have convinced me that when good people serve those in need, the whole community prospers," Woodyard said in a statement.


Michael Woodyard

Connors was appointed to the Circuit Court in 1997 by former Gov. John Engler. He previously served as chief judge of Ann Arbor's 15th District Court.

Woodyard said as far as he can tell, no one has ever challenged Connors for his spot on the bench.

"My assessment is that nobody's ever run against him, and I think my candidacy represents an opportunity for the voters in Washtenaw County to have a choice in a very import public office, an office that a lot of people don't really pay attention to until they're in a bad way," he said.

Woodyard says he's prosecuted domestic violence, child abuse, infant homicide and public corruption cases. Before being assigned a criminal docket, he spent three years handling civil cases, including public nuisance abatement, environmental compliance and asset forfeiture.

Woodyard, who lives in Ann Arbor, earned a bachelor's degree in English from Eastern Michigan University in 1996 and a law degree from Wayne State University in 2002.

While in law school, he interned for Gerald Rosen, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He was a newspaper reporter between college and law school, working in Ohio, New York and Michigan.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners appointed Woodyard to the county's Criminal Justice Collaborative Council last year.

He also is an appointed member of the state of Michigan's Citizen Review Panel on Child Fatalities, volunteers with Washtenaw Literacy and has served as an elected member of the Wayne County Government Bar Association's board.

"I am truly encouraged by the support so many people showed while I was gathering 1,200 petition signatures to get on the ballot," Woodyard said. "I am honored to have this opportunity to serve and to be a voice for justice in Washtenaw County."

Woodyard declined to disclose his political leanings, saying it's a nonpartisan post and he doesn't think justice has a "D" or an "R" next to it.

Washtenaw County Circuit Court judges Timothy Connors, Melinda Morris and Darlene O'Brien all have their terms end at the beginning of 2013. Morris is retiring, leaving open a seat that four local attorneys are competing against one another to fill.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:28 a.m.

He is for the lawyers not the people ! He cannot even control his court room . The snakes do . Its time for someone new with the people not the pockets in our courts.


Fri, Oct 5, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

It is way over due to judge Conners to leave the bench, I'm basing this on how he handled my case, he has a reputation I have been told by many lawyers as "shooting from the hip". I can definitely attest to this, he is lazy, and spends little if any time reading the briefs given to him weeks in advance of his cases, instead, he makes knee jerk decisions, this is irresponsible and the tax payers deserve a much more prepared and respectful judge. I will be supporting Michael Woodyard and I hope you do to, we need to get this man removed!

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

hell .. lazy is almost complimentary ... tsk-tsk.

The Secret Team

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

A lot of people agree with you, Leo.

Mariel de deSoleil

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

I prevailed on two appeals of Judge Connors' decisions: he refused to follow the instructions of the three-panel Court of Appeals, so I was forced to file another appeal, which I also won. It is very difficult to win an appeal as trial judges have so much "discretion." My wins speak to the egregiousness of Judge Connors' decisions in my case. When the case was remanded both times for him to fix his mistakes, i experienced such disrespect from him. As a paralegal, I have sat numerous occasions in Judge Connor's court. My observations are that he has shown bias, has been rude to self-represented citizens, has displayed a temper, has shown impatience, has often kept attorneys and their clients waiting (one time he was at the Art Fair) and that remarkably he adjudicates contrary to the law! My understanding is that his trial decisions have the highest percentage of being appealed in Washtenaw County. Washtenaw County would be well-served with another judge to serve the people with justice, rather than Judge Connors.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:25 a.m.

I agree he shows bias and looks like the lawyers run his court room. I use to vote for him until I became one of his victims of bad law and I am glad he has competition now.Then to see the lawyers I saw run the courtroom not him have his dinner well?? Not kosher


Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Connors is the man.Woodyard needs to be in Washing County Prosecutors Office or at least practice law in Washing County,


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

Are you registered as a Democrat or Republican voter? If you try to say that you are REGISTERED as an Independent---I will not believe it!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:59 a.m.

because most people will not admit their political choice


Tue, Jun 26, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

I worked for 11 years with Judge Timothy P. Connors. He should not be labeled as a Democrat or Republican. He is an independent person and judge. He also is the most qualified and EXPERIENCED person for this position! I also support Jim Fink as another circuit judge!

The Secret Team

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

You were his court reporter, Ms. Sneyd.


Sun, Jun 24, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

So hoping Connors time is up! My children, now 22 and 19, were victims of his bias for too many years. He certainly supports dead beat dads!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:29 a.m.

Mike was at the Elks Club today serving chili and promoting his candidacy by meeting with well-wishers. Jim Fink and Carol Kuhnke were also present; they are candidates for the non-incumbent circuit court ballot.

Ryon owens

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Mr . Woodyard would be a great replacement for Judge Connors, I have worked with him in the past ......hardworking,honest,fair guy that plays by the rules

j hampton

Sat, May 5, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

In many respects, a Circuit Court Judge is the most powerful employee of the State. A Circuit Court Judge can terminate parental rights, incarcerate a citizen, deprive a citizen of property and control what evidence a jury will hear. Judge Connors has been a Circuit Court Judge for 15 years and a District Court Judge for 6 years. During that time, he has grown to become one of the most qualified and respected judges in the state. He listens to the powerful and to the powerless and always tries to come to the right result. In his Courtroom, in the most complex of cases, both sides are given a fair trial. I am sure Mr. Woodyard is a good man and a good prosecutor, but I have not heard any compelling reason why the voters of Washtenaw County should replace a seasoned, wise, caring, insightful and thoughtful judge with a Wayne County prosecutor who has only been an attorney for 10 years and has spent all of that time prosecuting the accused. The Circuit Court judgeship requires a far broader experience level than working as a prosecutor and should require a far broader perspective. County Judge does not lend itself to inexperience. If Wayne Couty Prosecutor Michael Woodyard want s to offer the voters of Washtenw County a choice, he should consider running for County Prosecutor,

The Secret Team

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Thanks for your minority viewpoint, Mr. John Hampton Bredell.

Ryon owens

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

Are you kidding me? He must of did you a favor

A21965 Townie

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

Great point.


Fri, May 4, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

I know Mike, he is worthy of wearing a robe and he will get my vote. Plus he is a Tarter, can't go wrong there.


Fri, May 4, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Worked with him on cases in Wayne Co. Found him to be a good guy and excellent prosecutor who is very conscientious.


Fri, May 4, 2012 : 3:18 a.m.

"............nobody's ever run against him(Connors)......" Actually, Patricia Gravel-Henkel ran against Connors as a write-in in 2006 and garnered several hundred votes. Mike Woodyard has announced he will be promoting his candidacy at the Elk's Club on 220 Sunset in Ann Arbor this Sunday, May 6th from 4-8p.m. at the Chili Cook-Off.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Mike Woodyard is a great guy and is one of the most ethical and intelligent people that work at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. He is very respected. He will get a lot of endorsements. Including mine. Good luck, Mike. I am looking forward to November!

j hampton

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

Jamie, Do you even know him? Or are you still mad at the entire 22nd Circuit Court?

David Cahill

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

I support Judge Connors also. He is an even-handed and caring person with a common touch. Replacing him with a career prosecutor would not serve the cause of justice.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

I will tell you David how caring Judge Connors in a resist case a Plaintiff I know sent a Defendant a hearing notice that costing $100 dollars, first by certified mail, that the Defendant was noified 3 times to pick-up and choose not to, then by 1st class mail. The Plaintiff took time off work showed up to the hearing the Defendant did not show at the hearing and Judge Connors stated he would not make a judgement with out input from the other party!!! This is the type of Bull that goes on with this judge. He needs to go!

Ryon owens

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

I would have to disagree David, Judge Connors is corrupt. Any attorney that is familar with his courtroom is aware of his conduct. He needs to go......


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

David, have you ever seen ?


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

"When good people serve those in need, the whole community prospers." Judge Timothy Connors is a good man and has served his community well for many years. Our community has prospered from his appointment. The exit of Judge Connors would be a terrible loss to the community and I would hope that the majority of voters understand this. Having witnessed him in action, I know Judge Connors to be fair and impartial. He is neither a hanging judge or soft on crime, but appears to make his decisions based upon the evidence and careful thought. In my early, misguided years, I had the displeasure of going in front of him after a minor scrape with the law. I can say that due to my interaction with him, I am a better person for it and my life was positively impacted. You may hear from folks who don't like his decisions, but I guarantee they were fair. If new blood is needed, it's not needed at the expense of Judge Connors.


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Connors in a resist case, a Plaintiff, I know sent a Defendant a hearing notice that costing $100 dollars, first by certified mail, that the Defendant was notified 3 times to pick-up and choose not to, then by 1st class mail. The Plaintiff took time off work showed up to the hearing the Defendant did not show at the hearing and Judge Connors stated he would not make a judgment without input from the other party!!! This is the type of Bull that goes on with this judge. He needs to go!

Ryon owens

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

You must be one of those people Conners does favors for..check is past history an his many violations of the ethics code he was sworn

Linda Peck

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

Big changes are underway in Washtenaw County! It will be interesting to see the new direction and fresh insights that will be brought to the legal table. Thanks, too, for the service of the retiring judge and those who must renew their bids.