LAPEER COUNTY — The results from the August 4 primary election will serve as step one in the process to award a six-year, non-partisan term to the 40th Circuit Court bench. Of the three candidates on the ballot next week, the top two finishers will move on to a runoff contest in November’s general election. The field includes incumbent Judge Byron Konschuh and challengers Catherine Bostick and Mike Hodges.
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Catherine Bostick, a private practice attorney, said she’s seeking office because she believes she’s the better candidate to serve families in Lapeer County.
“For over 23 years, I have been practicing family law and serving in the trenches advocating for families: mothers, fathers, children, guardians, grandparents. Lapeer County families deserve someone on the bench who will follow the law and who has the experience of knowing how decisions impact families,” Bostick said.
If elected, Bostick said she would work to integrate the use of technology to make cases more accessible to families whether they are represented by an attorney or representing themselves. Additionally, she said she wants to ensure families requesting relief in the courts receive timely hearings and decisions.
“I want to ensure that whether you’re the judge, attorney, court staff, the party in the case, a witness or public person in the courtroom, you receive respect in my court,” she said.
Bostick believes her two-plus decades in family law set her apart from her opponents who focused their careers on criminal law.
“I am committed to working for Lapeer County families inside and outside of the courtroom in the areas of housing, mental health services, domestic violence prevention and education, economic development, and other local services,” she said.
“I am trusted and respected across Lapeer County and look forward to bringing that trust and respect to the bench.”
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Mike Hodges, who currently serves as Lapeer County’s Friend of the Court, said he wants to become the county’s newest judge because he has a deep respect for the judiciary and believes the community deserves someone with his experience and ethics on the bench.
“I have spent most of the last 24 years working in a courtroom…with 18 years’ experience as a prosecutor and now Friend of Court, handling divorce and custody cases for Lapeer County,” Hodges said.
“My strong community and civic involvement spans decades. I am ready to serve Lapeer County as judge.”
If elected, Hodges said some of his top priorities in office would include supporting the county’s Drug Court and initiatives to address the opioid epidemic; maintaining the highest standards of conduct on the bench and ensuring that justice is central to the county’s legal system.
“I believe a judge must always ‘do the right thing.’ The ‘right thing’ is not necessarily the easiest alternative, and it often is not the best choice politically, but the right decision on the law, the right and fair decision for the parties in court, and the right decision for the community,” he said.
As an assistant prosecutor in Lapeer County, including four years as chief assistant prosecutor, Hodges handled a variety of cases ranging from juvenile delinquency to murder and conducted conducted more than 80 jury trials as a prosecutor.
“I have dedicated my career to promoting justice, especially for those that are unable to defend themselves. In all my work, I have sought a just resolution of each dispute, and have served my neighbors with a passion that remains unabated,” he said.
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Konschuh has served as circuit court judge since 2013 when he was appointed by then-Governor Rick Snyder and voters gave him a full six-year term at the ballot box in 2014. Prior to become judge, Konschuh was Lapeer County’s prosecutor for 13 years.
“I have a passion for the rule of law, family and community. I am uniquely qualified to handle all areas of the law and all challenges faced by a circuit court judge. I tried the most difficult criminal cases as a prosecutor. On the bench I have handled all types of cases including criminal, civil, divorces, abuse and neglect, guardianships, adoptions and personal protection orders,” Konschuh said.
In a new term, he said he would like to help move the court system forward by maintaining efficiency while enhancing technology to make it more user friendly and accessible.
“The pandemic and the necessary use of Zoom has helped force us as a system to become more familiar and acceptable of technology. Our dockets and schedules should be posted and electronically accessible. E-filing is a must,” Konschuh said.
Additionally, he believes the Courthouse/County Complex is in desperate need of a permanent security system.
As judge, Konschuh said he would seek to restore civility to the courts system, citing “a very sinister false narrative” that led to a years’ long legal battle for the judge who was accused of mishandling funds while prosecutor. Ultimately, Konschuh pled no contest to a misdemeanor accounting violation and his record was subsequently cleared.
“This type of false narrative and the collateral damage it causes has no place in our court, government or political systems. I pray it never happens to another human being and I will do all I can to keep it out of our court system,” he said.
Looking ahead, Konschuh believes his time as a judge, attorney and prosecutor will be critical in the county’s near future.
“With the other three iudges being term limited in the next election cycles, I am a judge with experience and proven leadership skills to move the County into the future in an efficient, workman-like manner,” he said.