When polls close on Tuesday, November 3, St. Clair County electors will have named a judge to the 72nd District Court. There are 248 District Court judges in the State of Michigan; three of those sit in St. Clair County—Judge Mona Armstrong, Judge John Monaghan and Judge Michael Hulewicz.
The district court is the busiest trial court in the state. People come to the district court to have matters near and dear to them fully, fairly and timely resolved. I was fortunate to serve six years as Magistrate and thereafter, 17 years as District Court Judge. In those 23 years, I often observed the now Judge Mona Armstrong representing the people. On every single occasion, Mona Armstrong was well prepared, thorough and professional. On every occasion I observed Mona Armstrong trying a case or presenting preliminary examination proofs, she demonstrated superior knowledge and application of critical tools of the attorney trade—the Rules of Evidence, the Court Rules and the law of the case. While she clearly sought and had a passion for the truth, at all times I observed Mona Armstrong act with total respect and compassion for all persons with whom she came in contact.
Attorney Referee Caryn VanderHeuvel is running against the incumbent Judge Mona Armstrong. Ms. VanderHeuvel is a nice person, however, in the 23 years I served on the District Court Bench, never once did I see this attorney in a District Court courtroom. It is my understanding that she has never tried a case. In my opinion, this is no place to learn trial work as you go. That is a recipe for unfair treatment and outcome, and one which I can envision would necessarily cost litigants considerable more money to fund the appeal of an incorrect decision of an ill-prepared judge. Our citizenry deserves better than trial and error as an unseasoned judge finds her way. Attorney Referee VanderHeuvel would better serve our county by actually practicing in the District Court and actually trying cases and sharpening the tools of the trade and then seek a judicial position.
We have the best judge in Mona Armstrong. I urge all to vote the non-partisan portion of our ballot and vote to retain Judge Mona Armstrong.
—Cynthia S. Platzer,
Retired 72nd District Court Judge