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19th District Court (Non-incumbent seat)

Choose one candidate. District Court judges serve a six-year term.

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  • Candidate picture

    Susan A. Dabaja

  • Candidate picture

    Gene Hunt

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Biographical Information

List all courts and agencies in which you are currently admitted to practice.

Describe your previous legal experience, listing the names of your previous employers and any areas of the law in which you specialize. What percentage of your practice is civil? Criminal?

How often do you to appear before the court to which you seek election?

Describe your three most recent trials/cases and list the names of the presiding judge and opposing counsel in each.

Describe any pro bono legal services you have provided in the last 5 years.

Have you ever been admonished, reprimanded, suspended or otherwise disciplined by attorney or judicial disciplinary authorities in Michigan or any other jurisdiction? If yes, provide details.

Please list organizations or political action committees that have endorsed your candidacy or asked their members to donate to your campaign.

What factors would you consider in deciding what sentence to hand down in a criminal case?

If you observed a party in your courtroom being poorly represented by counsel, how would you address the situation?

Under what circumstances, if any, would you feel obligated to disclose to opposing counsel that a lawyer appearing before you had donated to your election campaign?

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

City of residence Dearborn
Age 39
Military service N/A
Degrees earned B.S.- University of Michigan-Dearborn J.D.- University of Detroit Mercy-School of Law (Class Rank #1, magna cum laude)
Vehicles owned Drive 2014 Lincoln MKZ (Lease)
Race/ethnicity White/Middle Eastern
Campaign Website http://susandabaja.com
Current occupation Attorney
Other relevant professional experience Mediator
Current or previous elected office Dearborn City Council President
All Michigan State Courts; Eastern District of Michigan; Executive Office for Immigration Review; United States Bankruptcy Court

I began working at Salamey & Associates, PLLC law firm in 2005, which later changed to Farhat & Associates, PLLC to the present where we manage a General Practice law firm. I represented a variety of corporate clients with an emphasis on representing entities in zoning, corporate compliance, and complex business transaction. Further, I represented individuals in divorce proceedings, family law matters, real property transactions, landlord tenant, and minor criminal infractions. The majority of my legal experiences entail corporate and family law matters. The remaining 25% of my practice entailed mediation, immigration, real estate transactions, appellant work and minor criminal infractions.
After my successful election to Dearborn City Council in 2013, I recused myself from appearing at the 19th District Court to avoid any conflicts of interest. Prior to 2013, I regularly appeared in all three Dearborn courtrooms covering all subject matters that are permissible in district court proceedings. I am very comfortable in and around 19th District. I still continue to appear in district and circuit courts throughout the state of Michigan. I have extensive courtroom experience, where my legal practice requires me to appear in Court on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
Civil Litigation, Judge Salomone, 23th District Court-In pro per; Civil Litigation, Judge Popke, Wayne County Circuit Court-Huda Alawi; Domestic Relations, Judge Kelley, Wayne County Circuit Court-Arthur Brand
I have represented domestic violence victims as well as several indigent minors, often these matters were extensive. I have provided representation related to the formation, structure and broad legal counsel to several 501(c)3 and other not for profit entities. I have also provided representation to indigent individuals seeking legal advice on civil and/or domestic matters.
I have not been admonished, reprimanded, or suspended from the Michigan State Bar. In fact, a grievance has never been lodged against me.
Dearborn Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 412; Dearborn Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association; Detroit Police Officers Association; Wayne County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association; Wayne County Sheriff & Airport Police Supervisory Employees – AFSCME Local 3317; MI Building and Construction Trades Council; Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 80 PAC or SMART Local Union 80; IBEW Local 58; Pipefitters Local 636
I would consider the gravity of the criminal conduct, the impact on the community, any mitigating factors including, but not limited to, the defendant's age and prior criminal record. I would always strive to hand down a sentence that is both sufficient and just.
In the event counsel is ineffective, I would ensure that that the party's rights are protected by intervening on evidentiary issues, even if and when objections are not raised. Further, I would make my own inquires of any witness that I believe are in interest of justice.
I would make all disclosures required by the rules of ethics. Further, I would never allow for any contribution of any kind to influence any decision in the Court.
I have never been charged or convicted of any crime whatsoever.
I have never filed bankruptcy, personal or otherwise.
City of residence Dearborn
Age 60
Military service Yes, United States Marine Corps
Degrees earned BA, University of Michigan - Dearborn; Juris Doctor, Wayne State University
Vehicles owned 1966 Corvair; 2016 Dodge Ram 1500
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Current occupation Dearborn attorney for 31 years.
Other relevant professional experience I have represented indigent defendants in the 19th district court for over 20 years. I've handled in excess of 10,000 cases there. I also taught for over 10 years in the paralegal program at Henry Ford College
Current or previous elected office None
All Michigan courts and US District Court Eastern District.
I have always been in private practice. I have handled all types of cases. Civil, family, workers compensation, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant, and criminal cases. As I became established, I focused on family law and criminal defense. My practice is now almost exclusively criminal defense.
I've appeared in the Dearborn District Court virtually every day of the week for the past 20 years. I've handled over 10,000 cases -- most in Dearborn District Court history. Probably more than the next 10 lawyers in court history combined.
(1) Dearborn District Court: Evidentiary hearing on improper stop wherein Judge Mark Somers suppressed the evidence. Bradley Mendelsohn was the opposing counsel. (2) Dearborn District Court: A failure to obey a police officer jury trial before Judge Somers. The defendant was found not guilty. The opposing counsel was Andrea McDaniel. (3) Dearborn District Court: A bench trial before Judge Sam Salamey for an assault and battery. The defendant was found guilty. Opposing counsel was Andrea McDaniel.
A lot of people come to me with small matters or matters I can handle with a phone call and I provide this service pro bono. I have had the exclusive contract to provide legal services to indigent defendants in Dearborn's District Court for over 20 years. It's the favorite part of my practice. I often see someone in court who needs help and offer to provide legal service pro bono; this is especially true for our veterans.
No.
I am endorsed by the Police Officers Association of Dearborn, the Dearborn Police Supervisors Association of Lieutenants and Sergeants, the Police Officers Association of Michigan, the Wayne County Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Teamsters Joint Council 43, Teamsters Local 299 and Teamsters Local 337. I am also endorsed by 20 judges and State Representative George Darany.
(1) What does the law say? (2) Are there any mitigating or aggravating factors to consider? (3) Does the punishment provide justice for the victim? (4) Does the punishment serve the interest of society? (5) Are there alternatives to incarceration that are consistent with (3) and (4)?
I'm committed to protecting citizens' constitutional rights. If counsel is providing poor representation, I would briefly recess and have a sidebar with counsel. If I determine the attorney is not able to provide competent representation, I would then discuss options with the relevant party.

The Code of Judicial Conduct guides judges and judicial candidates as to how they are to campaign and maintain the integrity of the office. I have followed it as a candidate and I will follow it as a judge.
No felonies. No misdemeanors within the past 23 years.
No.

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