District judge candidates Christopher Fleming and Ashley Hanson-Grimes

ADRIAN – Three attorneys are challenging the new Lenawee County judge to complete a term from the bench.

Lenawee County District Judge Todd M. Morgan is seeking to remain in the post Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed him to this spring. Christopher Fleming, Ashley Hanson-Grimes and David Lacasse are also in the running to qualify for the November general election.

The two who receive the most votes in the August 2 primary will appear on the November ballot.

The seat is to be filled four years ahead of schedule as District Judge Jonathan L. Poer retired in January. Whoever is elected will complete Poer’s unexpired term.

The Daily Telegram provided questionnaires to candidates. Here are their responses, slightly edited for clarity. Due to the length of the answers, this story is split into two parts. Fleming and Hanson-Grimes are in this story, and Lacasse and Morgan will be in a future story.

Christopher Fleming

AGE: 37 years old.

RESIDENCE: Blissfield.

SPOUSE AND NUMBER OF CHILDREN: I have been married to Amy, a high school social studies teacher, for almost nine years and we have two children together.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University, Law degree from Southern Illinois University Law School.

CURRENT EMPLOYER: As of 2018, I have served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Lenawee County District Attorney’s Office. In my role, I prosecute cases ranging from traffic tickets to life offences.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: In 2012, I started my own general practice law firm in Monroe, which I successfully ran until 2018, when I accepted my position as an assistant attorney. At my firm, we have focused on representing clients in areas such as family law (divorce and child custody), personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant and litigation. civilians.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: With two young children, I decided to take a step back from community involvement to be closer to my children in those important early years. However, I am a Master Mason and was previously a member of the Shriners. I was born and raised Catholic. My family and I moved to Blissfield in 2020 and have visited and explored various church offerings and look forward to joining one of the many great congregations in this community. Finally, I’m a goaltender on my Sunday morning hockey league team and we’ve won the championship two years in a row.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A DISTRICT JUDGE? I am running to complete Retired Judge Poer’s term for my children and other children and all citizens of Lenawee County because I believe everyone has the right to feel safe in their community. We all deserve to have a judge who will adjudicate fairly and impartially on all issues. One of the most important functions of the district judge, among many others, is setting bail in serious criminal cases. As an assistant district attorney, I’ve seen firsthand the evil that exists within our community, and I’ve also seen bails set so low in major felony cases that I don’t think the public is protected.

WHAT WILL BE YOUR PRIORITIES IF YOU ELECT? I believe that the Mental Health Treatment Court, created by retired Judge Poer, needs to be expanded. We have a serious mental health problem in our county, due in part to the lack of treatment options. The partnership between the court and Community Mental Health results in a win-win situation for the community as a whole. The community sees lower costs resulting from reduced future criminal behavior and incarceration, and defendants benefit, as it has been shown to significantly reduce recidivism rates among participants.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE VOTE FOR YOU? As my more than a decade of legal experience in state and federal courts illustrates, I am the right candidate with the right experience. Since 2018, I have served my community as an assistant prosecutor, prosecuting serious criminals. I understand what is needed to operate a competent and impartial courtroom, where people are held accountable for their actions. Just three months ago, Governor Whitmer appointed Todd Morgan of the Office of the Public Defender to temporarily replace retired Justice Poer until the general election. Mr. Morgan can use the incumbent district judge designation for election, but he was never elected a judge. I believe I am the best option to ensure a competent district court and a safer Lenawee County.

Ashley Hanson Grimes

AGE: 40 years old.

Ashley Hanson Grimes

RESIDENCY: Adrian.

SPOUSE AND NUMBER OF CHILDREN: Lowell Grimes and two children.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in history from Ferris State University and law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School

CURRENT EMPLOYER: I am the Juvenile Court Adjudicator for Lenawee County Juvenile Court, presiding over juvenile delinquency and child protection hearings, and defense counsel for the court team Lenawee County Sobriety and Enhanced Treatment Court, also known as Mental Health Court. I also practiced as a lawyer for over 10 years at a law firm in Adrian which focuses on criminal law, family law and estate planning matters.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Previously worked with the Lenawee County Public Defender’s Office as a conflict attorney providing clients with legal representation in misdemeanor cases, felony cases, and protective hearings from childhood. I have also worked as an Ad Litem Guardian Advocate for Children in Lenawee County Juvenile Court and Ad Litem Guardian for Vulnerable Adults in Lenawee County Probate Court, giving a voice to those who could not speak for them. themselves. Prior to moving to Lenawee County, I worked for Lakeshore Legal Aid in the Family Law Assistance Project, where I assisted victims of domestic violence with family law cases, including divorce, child custody and support, parenting time, and obtaining personal protection orders.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I ​​serve on the Board of Associated Charities of Lenawee County as Past Chair of the Board, I am a member of Civitan of Lenawee, a member of the Lenawee County League of Women Voters and Lenawee County Conservation League. Previously, I was a board member of Housing Help of Lenawee.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A DISTRICT JUDGE? I’m running for district court judge because I believe the people of Lenawee County should choose their judges, not someone in Lansing who doesn’t live, work, or raise their children here. . Lenawee County deserves a district court judge who has the knowledge and experience to ensure that the court process is fair and just for all who appear in court. As your district court judge, I will treat everyone with dignity and respect, administer the law in accordance with the Constitution, follow due process, and be fair and impartial. I’ll be ready day one to get to work for Lenawee County. Vote August 2!

WHAT WILL BE YOUR PRIORITIES IF YOU ELECT? As a district court judge, my priorities would be public safety, offender accountability, and restorative justice. Currently, crime rates are at an all-time high. To combat this, we must process cases quickly and efficiently, eliminating delays that impact public safety. We must hold those who commit crimes accountable for their choices while addressing the issues that brought them to court to repair the harm caused by their actions. As a District Court Judge, I will review each individual case and decide on a sentence that will hold the offender accountable, ensure public safety and reduce recidivism.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE VOTE FOR YOU? It is of the utmost importance to have a judge who is willing to make tough decisions while applying the law fairly to all, who is invested in our community and who wants to see Lenawee County prosper. I am that person who spends most of my career working for children and families in all three courts in Lenawee County, I know the challenges our community faces, and as a judge of your district court, I will make the safety and security of our community a top priority. I will always remember that as an elected official, I work for you and not the other way around. I would be honored to have your support and vote on August 2.

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