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Posted on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ann Arbor attorney Jim Fink announces candidacy for Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge

By Kyle Feldscher

Updated with the judges whose terms end at the beginning of 2013

Ann Arbor attorney and former Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jim Fink announced his candidacy for Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge Tuesday.


Jim Fink

Courtesy of Jim Fink

Fink, an Ypsilanti resident, served in the sheriff’s office for 20 years, ending his career as the police services commander before retiring to become an attorney, according to a statement. He attended the Detroit College of Law and is now a practicing attorney in Ann Arbor.

“A good judge ensures that everyone’s rights are protected and that all receive equal justice under the law,” Fink said. “Judges, like all public servants, serve the community. I am running for this position because I am exceptionally qualified.”

Fink comes from a family of judges — his father, Robert Fink, and brother, Karl Fink, served as Washtenaw County judges, according to the statement.

Fink has served on the Dawn Farm Board of Trustees, the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board and the Hope Clinic “One Hope” capital campaign committee, according to the statement.

The election for Washtenaw County Circuit Court judges is in November. Washtenaw County Circuit Court judges Timothy Connors, Melinda Morris and Darlene O'Brien all have their terms end at the beginning of 2013.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Snehal Shah

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Erane Washington is by all measures the best candidate for this position. I have known Erane for about 5 years. She helped as a lawyer in a civil dispute. I admired the way she handled my case. She was extremely fair, compassionate and dealt with both the parties in amicable manner. The best thing about her is that she is non-judgmental about a person till she has full facts. I have seen very few lawyers who works in interest of justice rather than any other personal interest. In the case, she handled for me, I was wrong from various points and she explained to me in such a manner that I realized it myself. Though I lost the case, she won my heart! I have been in touch with her since then and the more I talk with her, I realize that she is the kind of Judge that our current system drastically needs. Interpretation of law is subjective but the values and morals that affect that interpretation is objective. I can hear, sense and feel those high moral, values and standard, whenever I meet her or chat with her, which definitely will grace the position of a circuit court judge. To sum up, she has all the qualities to judge with kindness, fairness but with firmness. She has the rare ability to understand the cause of an action and differentiate it from the person. And this quality is of utmost importance in any Judge. She has the skill to rationalize logical and analytically with the heart in the center!

Dog Guy

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Perhaps he might make a good judge; all the inmates say, "Never trust a fink."


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

Regardless of your political views, Jim Fink, like his brother Carl, is a fine and decent man. We are extremely fortunate to have individuals such as him and Darlene O'Brien (political opposites) that are willing to forsake far more lucrative private practices to serve our county. This is truly a reflection of why we have such a special place to live.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Hmm. I googled Gary Hann's from the area. Interesting.

Michigan Reader

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Mr. Fink says that "a good judge ensures that everyone's rights are protected and that all receive equal justice under the law." That's SO arbitrary in practice.

Michigan Reader

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

But I'll vote for him after reading the comments other people have made above.

Sandy Castle

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

@ Gary Hann, you have confused Jim Fink with another attorney. From the sound of your rant, perhaps you're confusing him with a prosecutor. I worked for the 15th District Court for a number of years and I saw Jim Fink at work in the court system. He is known amongst staff for his courteous and respectful demeanor to all; staff members, judges, AND people across the podium from him. He has a strong work ethic and is thoughtful and fair in his decisions. If elected, and I hope that he is, he will serve Washtenaw County residents well.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Sandy, who were your friends at 15th district court? I don't know about Jim fink, but I don't think your recommendion carries a lot of weight.

James Socrates

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

I cannot say I know Mr. Fink personally, but I do know he is held in high esteem within the legal community as a fair minded and ethically focused lawyer. I do however know of Mr. Hann, and I cannot say that such a litigious gentleman shares the respect afforded Mr. Fink. I have no doubt that Mr. Fink would be an exceptional Judge. At the same time, I am exceptionally supportive of our current judiciary who are some of the hardest working public servants in our communities. One can find all types of things to complain about but the bottom line is these individuals are underpaid, overworked, and constantly berated in the court of public opinion and yet still do an excellent job and have helped reduce Washtenaw's crime rate manifold. I think its rather ironic to accuse Mr. Fink or any of our judges of selling out to the highest bidder when in actuality they have rather sold themselves to the lowest bidders, the public.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Hann's characterization. It is a broad-brush attack that has cited no examples or other proof and appears simply a campaign smear. The Fink family name is respected in this county. Peter Fink served on Ann Arbor City Council before becoming comedian Jacques Labatt on Ann Arbor Newshawks, which can be viewed on YouTube. Jim Fink finished third in his class at Detroit College of Law and has given back to the community through unpaid volunteer work at many of the charitable and volunteer organizations mentioned in the article. Mr Fink is compassionate toward victims of crime. He initially was a law enforcement officer through the Eastern Michigan University campus police and subsequently had a long and distinguished career with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department. Anyone who has known him either through his law enforcement work or as a lawyer can attest to his integrity, hard work and dedication to the public interest. I have a great deal of respect for Jim Fink and hope he is elected to the bench.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

I pray to God you are right. So many people thought a now resigned judge was such a good person. I knew differently, way before the truth came out last November. I pray the horrible dysfunction behind the scenes gets cleared up. I mean this sincerely. I hate to see people get hurt.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

This is excellent news! I've known Fink for a number of years. Before he retired from the Sheriff Department the Ann Arbor News, the precusor to, did an article on him detailing his experience as a Sheriff. Many of the people he arrested spoke very highly of him because they felt he really cared about them beyond their status as being involved in the justice system. Fink, who comes from a family of judicial representatives would make an excellent Judge especially for people who come to his court without proper resources or legal representation. I urge those of you who did not read the article many years ago to look it up. You got my vote Fink.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

I can't imagine a better candidate than someone who has been successful at upholding the law both in practice as a sheriffs deputy but also as an attorney. Experience on the job aside, he is a man with great compassion, integrity and intelligence, a combination of virtues that are often lacking in today's legal system period let alone on the bench. He is a great man and would be an asset to our county judiciary and I will happily cast my vote for him.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5 p.m.

I have known Jim Fink for many years and have always found him to be fair and compassionate. From my earliest experiences with him I can remember him taking the time to come to a well thought out conclusion based on the facts. He will make an excellent judge for Washtenaw County.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

I have known James " A " Fink for a number of years. He is a professional and fair minded attorney with great family roots. He would be a Great asset to our circuit court system.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

I, too, feel the need to respond to Mr. Hann. While I disagree with most of Mr. Fink's politics, I know him to be an absolutely top notch person. He is intelligent, has integrity, and cares deeply about people. He would unquestionably continue to be an asset to the community should he become a judge.

Joe Yekulis

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

I disagree with Mr. Hann. As someone who has known and worked with Jim Fink for nearly 40 years as a friend, law enforcement colleague, and politician, I personally know Jim Fink as a man of integrity and solid values. I have known his late father, his brother, and other members of his extended family, and they are all hard working people with great integrity. To imply otherwise suggests that someone has an axe to grind. I would wholeheartedly support Jim in this endeavor, and wish him luck.