LAPEER COUNTY — It’s round number two for the candidates seeking a seat on the 40th Circuit Court bench.
The field of three candidates was narrowed to two in the August primary election and now those winners—incumbent Judge Byron Konschuh and challenger Mike Hodges—face off in the general election.
In August, Hodges (8,659) garnered the most votes, followed by Konschuh (6,232). Coming in third, just behind Konschuh was Catherine Bostick (6,115), an attorney who’s practiced in Lapeer County for more than 20 years.
The day after the election the Judicial Tenure Commission issued a recommendation that Konschuh be removed from the bench due to misconduct. That recommendation has been forwarded to the Michigan Supreme Court for their consideration.
The race appears on the non-partisan section of Lapeer County’s ballot.
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Mike Hodges currently serves as Lapeer County’s Friend of the Court and previously worked as an assistant prosecutor in Lapeer County.
“I’ve campaigned across the county, and even in the midst of the pandemic voters are asking about our local judiciary. They want integrity restored to the courthouse, and that’s just what I’ll do. I’ll be an honest judge. That’s what Lapeer deserves,” Hodges said.
In a previous interview Hodges said his top priorities in office would include 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.
He said he believes a judge must always ‘do the right thing’ and base decisions on the law, what’s right and fair for the parties and what’s best for the community.
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.
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Byron 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 becoming judge, Konschuh was Lapeer County’s prosecutor for 13 years.
“I have experience in all areas of the law from the private practitioner to prosecutor, as well as a perspective from the bench. I am the only candidate with judicial experience and a reputation for compassion, fairness, even handedness and as a strong advocate for family,” Konschuh said.
In a previous interview Konschuh said he would like to see the court system become more transparent and accessible through electronic means and believes it’s imperative a permanent security system is installed in the courthouse/county complex.
In a new term, 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 after he was accused of mishandling funds while prosecutor. Ultimately, Konschuh pled no contest to a misdemeanor accounting violation and his record was subsequently cleared.