VOTER GUIDE AUGUST PRIMARY ELECTION CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE 6 th Circuit Tuesday, August 7, 2012 POLLS ARE OPEN 7:00 A.M. 8:00 P.M.

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1 VOTER GUIDE AUGUST PRIMARY ELECTION CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE 6 th Circuit Tuesday, August 7, 2012 POLLS ARE OPEN 7:00 A.M. 8:00 P.M. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OAKLAND AREA Website: Phone: Go to and click on Voter Guides and then Judicial Questionnaire for additional candidate responses on website. 5 Candidates for CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE for ONE 6-year Term Vote for no more than ONE Question 1: Summarize your biography, DAN CHRIST The 6 th Circuit Court includes all of Oakland County. I am a life-long Oakland County resident. I graduated from Michigan State University where I was a fouryear varsity athlete and I attended the United State Marine Corp. Platoon Leadership Course. I graduated from the University of Detroit School of Law in The majority of my career I have practiced as a partner with Beier Howlett, P.C. and Hafeli Staran Hallahan & Christ, P.C. For over twenty years I ve represented individuals, businesses and public corporations; protecting their interest and making sure their rights are enforced. I am married to Ann DeCaminda Christ and have three children attending Brother Rice High School, Notre Dame Preparatory High School and St. Hugo of the Hills School. I am active in my community and church. My legal practice consists of representing individuals, small businesses and cities, villages and townships and other public entities in Oakland County and the Metro- Detroit area. The majority of my practice involves representing municipal corporations providing general counsel to their elected legislative bodies and administration, along with civil litigation and prosecuting criminal violations for those municipalities to make sure their interests are served, their law enforced and their citizens protected. My twenty years of practice in civil litigation and criminal prosecution makes me uniquely qualified amongst the candidates to undertake the important duties and responsibilities as a Circuit Court Judge. I have the necessary temperament to remain patient, dignified and courtesy to all litigants and others who appear in the courtroom. I am committed to public service and to make sure justice is served. I have the integrity to be faithful to the law and the experience and character necessary to be unswayed by partisan interests or fear of criticism. Copyright League of Women Voters Oakland Area 2012 Page 1 of 5 Published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

2 SAHERA HOUSEY I am 43 years old and have been married to my husband for over 13 years. We have two daughters, ages 11 and 9. I graduated with honors from the University of Detroit in I graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in I worked full-time while attending both college and law school. I am currently a Referee with the Oakland County Friend of the Court and have a docket of over 3,200 cases. I am the current Chair of the OCBA Family Court Committee, current Board Member of the Referees Association of Michigan, and current Board Member/Trustee of the Michigan Inter-Professional Association on Marriage, Divorce and the Family. I practiced family law, estate planning and probate from May, 1995 through November, My office was in Southfield and I practiced mainly in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties. In 2007, I accepted a position as Referee with the Oakland County Friend of the Court. I have heard thousands of cases on family law matters. I had the highest percentage of cases with collections of support in 2011, and collected over $10.4 million for families and children. I conduct over 100 Early Intervention Conferences each year. I have presided over more than 5,000 support, parenting time, and medical enforcement hearings. I am the most qualified of the candidates seeking this seat on the Family Court Bench of the Oakland County Circuit Court. My practice has been in the area of family law since I began my legal career. I have been a Referee for many years and as such, have the experience making the kinds of decisions I will be called upon to make as a family court judge. I can hit the ground running. I have worked hard my entire life, working full-time while attending college and then law school. I know what hard work is and will bring that same work ethic to this position. Copyright League of Women Voters Oakland Area 2012 Page 2 of 5 Published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

3 KAREN MCDONALD I graduated from Alma College in 1992 with a teaching certificate. I taught public school for three years and then went to law school. I graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 1998 and worked as a research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals. I then became an assistant prosecuting attorney for Oakland County, specializing in child sexual assault cases. In 2004, I joined private practice and am now a partner at Jaffe practicing family law and commercial litigation. I have been an advocate for children and family my entire professional career. I practice primarily in Oakland County, but I also practice in Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties. Immediately after law school, I worked for the Court of Appeals and then I spent five years as an Assistant Prosecutor, prosecuting child sex crimes. Since leaving the prosecutor s office, I have concentrated my private practice on family law matters, including divorce, custody, parenting time and support issues. I have also handled commercial and business litigation matters as well as some criminal defense. My typical client is middle to upper class. However, I am committed to pro bono as well. I recently represented, on a pro bono basis, a woman with 11 children whose husband was accused and ultimately convicted of sexually molesting their son. I have a wide range of experience that makes me the most qualified candidate for this office. This experience includes criminal prosecution and defense, all aspects of family law, civil litigation and appellate experience. Whether the open seat is a family law seat or a general jurisdiction seat, I have the requisite knowledge and expertise. I am a skilled trial lawyer, well versed in the rules of evidence and the court rules. I am a hard worker. I am patient, intelligent and fair. My judicial philosophy will include that every litigant is entitled to his or her day in court, is entitled to respect and is entitled to be heard. I am also committed, however, to achieving just results and providing everyone access to justice. Copyright League of Women Voters Oakland Area 2012 Page 3 of 5 Published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

4 JASON PERNICK For over 26 years, I have been protecting our families and protecting our community. As a police officer and prosecutor, I have spent my career serving the public. I have successfully prosecuted hundreds of high profile murders, robberies and other serious crimes. Outside the courtroom, I am a Commerce Township Library Advisory Board member, Boy Scout leader and coach. I have been married for 18 years, my wife and I have two children in the Walled Lake Schools. As a judge I would treat everyone with courteousness and respect, seeking to resolve their cases fairly and efficiently. The best judges are qualified, trusted and committed to the community. Those are the qualities that I would bring to the bench if elected. I have served the citizens of Oakland County for more than 26 years, first as a Troy Police Officer and for the last 20 years as an Oakland County prosecutor. I have been responsible for the investigation and prosecution of misdemeanors, felonies and child abuse and neglect. I have worked with every level of government around the state and across the nation. Throughout my career, I have served as an instructor for police officers, prosecutors and school children. As a prosecutor, my duty is to do justice and represent the victims in the criminal courts of our county. As a Major Crimes Prosecutor, I am trusted to prosecute the most serious, high profile cases in Oakland County. The best judges are those with a broad range of experience dealing with people in many different circumstances. Throughout my career, I have dealt with people in all kinds of situations; good and bad. Judges must have extensive trial experience. I have been a courtroom prosecutor for 20 years successfully prosecuting hundreds of cases. Judges must have the wisdom to understand the difference between those who should be granted leniency and those who should be receive a severe sentence. I have worked in front of the best judges and gained that ability. Judges must be committed to their community. I am a parent, Boy Scout leader and community volunteer. Judges must be fair, even tempered and hard-working. I have practiced those skills throughout my career. Copyright League of Women Voters Oakland Area 2012 Page 4 of 5 Published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

5 LAYNE ASHLEY SAKWA Lifelong resident Oakland County, Michigan. Graduated from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Communications in Received Juris Doctor in 2003 from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Director of Competitions for the Moot Court Executive Board. Employed both at the Misdemeanor Defender s Clinic at 36th District Court and Wayne County Prosecutor s Office. Worked for Thav and Ryke, PLLC, civil law firm during law school. Upon graduation worked in their Bankruptcy Department. Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor, 8 years: Warrants Division, District Court Division, Juvenile Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, currently Special Victims Section. Teach domestic violence prevention/response to law enforcement. Steering Committee for Oakland County Coordinating Council Against Domestic Violence and a Vice President of ORT Michigan. My legal career represents a wellrounded body of experience. Following graduation, I practiced civil law, mostly bankruptcy, when the economy took a serious downturn. My clients were losing their jobs and homes. Bankruptcy became a necessary legal solution to reorganization. In 2004, I received a call from the Oakland County Prosecutor s Office to interview. I was hired within 24 hours. For 8 years my career has been dedicated to protecting victims, their families, and the community. I trained in the Warrants Division, moved to District Courts handling misdemeanors, went to the Juvenile Unit prosecuting neglect and delinquency. I worked in the Domestic Violence Unit. Currently as a Special Victims Prosecutor, I handle serious felony and misdemeanors, including sexual assaults, child abuse, and elder crimes. In all of the civil and criminal cases I have handled, the common thread throughout is that citizens use the courtroom seeking solution, resolution and protection within a legal framework. To this end I have learned to become firm but fair, compassionate but educated, prepared yet flexible to the myriad of complexities of human behavior. At the same time my daily courtroom practice in Oakland County has earned me a thorough understanding of courtroom procedure, the Michigan Rules of Evidence, and protocol. I have developed excellent litigation and research skills necessary to make informed balanced decisions. A judge must be a combination of reasonable temperament and legal expertise. I am confident that my professional experiences have prepared me to adjudicate. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan national organization whose purpose is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League never supports or opposes any candidate or political party. Candidate responses are included as submitted and have not been edited except in cases where the replies have exceeded the stated word limitations. Spelling and Grammar were not corrected. The inclusion of candidates statements and opinions is solely in the interest of public service and in no way is to be construed as an endorsement by the League of Women Voters which takes no responsibility for any views or facts stated by the candidates. Copyright League of Women Voters Oakland Area 2012 Page 5 of 5 Published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

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