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Oakland County Probate Court Judge (non-incumbent seat)

Vote for one candidate to fill an non-incumbent position of Judge in Oakland County Probate Court, a six-year term.

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    Jennifer Callaghan

  • Karen Geibel

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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 Troy
Age 43
Military service none
Degrees earned J.D., Wayne State University, May 2000 B.A., International Relations, James Madison College, Michigan State University, May 1995
Vehicles owned Chrysler Town & Country Minivan Toyota Highlander
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://CallaghanForJudge.com
Current occupation Attorney/Oakland County Public Administrator, John Yun, PC, Clarkston, MI
Other relevant professional experience Account Executive (and licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent) at Harrison Insurance Agency, Royal Oak, MI
I was admitted to practice in Michigan state courts in November 2000. I was admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in February 2001.
*Associate Attorney, John Yun, PC (2010-2015) - Represent Public Administrator in capacity as public fiduciary. *Attorney, Callaghan, PLC (2004-2010) -Probate, Family (paternity), Collections and Landlord-Tenant matters. *Assistant Attorney General, Michigan Department of Attorney General, Detroit, MI (2000-2004) -Civil child abuse and neglect / appeals to circuit court and Michigan Court of Appeals of administrative hearings for Michigan Secretary of State. *Intern, Michigan Supreme Court, Chambers of the Hon. Marilyn Kelly, (Fall 1999) *Student Attorney, WSU Free Legal Aid Clinic, Detroit, MI (1998-1999) -Represented indigent Wayne County residents in Family Court and Friend of the Court.
I have regularly practiced in Probate Court (primarily in Oakland County) for the past nine years. I appear in Probate Court a minimum of one day a week, frequently multiple times a week. On a motion call Wednesday, I appear on an average of 8 to 15 cases, often in multiple courtrooms in both probate and circuit court.
While not necessarily the three most recent trials I have participated in, these are representative of some of the types of issues and trials I do: -In the Estate of Jeremy Lim, Protected Individual, before the Hon. Kathleen Ryan, Joel Wisniewski appeared as opposing counsel, involved litigating a fee issue. - In the Estate of Ebba Slomeana, a Protected Individual, before the Hon. Kathleen Ryan, Cynthia Lindsay opposing counsel, involved general civil claims, multiple wintesses and lasted several days. -In the Estate of Betsy Carr, Incapacitated Individual, before the Hon. Kathleen Ryan, Lawrence Williams appointed to represent Ms. Carr, a more typical termination of guardianship proceeding
As a Public Administrator, we are only compensated by the respective estates to which we are appointed. When we agree to accept court appointments, we do so with the understanding that we accept cases regardless of the funds (or lack of)available for compensation. Consequently, a large number of cases are handled pro bono. As recently determined for another purpose, it was calculated that our law firm of five attorneys has outstanding fees of approximately $1.8 million in billed attorney fees in current open cases (still excluding Medicaid cases), that we expect we will never collect. The amount for cases that have been opened and closed within the previous five years is unknown.
No
Police Officers Association of Michigan Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 128 UAW, Region 1A Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council Iron Workers, Local 25 Roofers Union, Local 149 Sheet Metal Workers, Local 80 Pipefitters, Local 636 Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 2 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Local 2353 The Oakland County Democratic Party (an endorsement decision from the Oakland County Republican Party is still pending)

In Oakland County, juvenile matters are handled by the Circuit Court, Family Division. Unless a probate judge is also assigned a partial Family Division docket, they would not handle criminal matters. However, if I were to handle any criminal matters, some of the factors I would consider in deciding a sentence would include, for example, and in no particular order, the severity of the crime committed; whether the perpetrator showed any contrition or remorse; whether they were cooperative; their past criminal history; the contents of a presentence report; victim impact statements; and the recommendations from both the attorneys from the state and for the defendant.
It may depend on the type of probate hearing in question.If the client was a Ward with court-appointed counsel at a hearing where a constitutional right is at stake, I would discuss the concern with the attorneys, perhaps adjourn the matter, or even remove and replace the attorney or more, if circumstances dictated. However, at a review hearing, I would be familiar with the issues and parties and the consequences of the problem may be minimal and a discussion with both attorneys may resolve the issue. In any case, it is very common for the judge to ask questions of a witness, an expert or a party in any hearing, which could help, at a minimum,to ameliorate an attorney’s advocacy shortcomings
A donation, no matter the amount, or donor, cannot and would not influence my administration of justice. I have a treasurer that handles the finances and donations of my campaign. While the information will at some point be public record, I wish to have as little knowledge about donations as is possible. A constant review of donation information for proper disclosure would, I fear, have the opposite effect and make me more aware of a donation, not less, and perhaps also create a concern of bias where there is none. According to campaign finance law, information regarding who contributed to a campaign, and in what amount, is required to be gathered and filed in campaign finance reports.
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