22nd Circuit Court Judge
Kuhnke was first elected to the bench in 2012, prevailing in a four-way primary and defeating attorney Jim Fink in the general election. The seat was previously held by Judge Melinda Morris, who retired. According to a report in PrideSource, Kuhnke was the state’s first openly lesbian elected judge.
Kuhnke currently is chief judge pro tem of the Trial Court and presiding judge of the Trial Court’s domestic division. She presides over civil, criminal and parental waiver cases.
In late 2016, police investigated Kuhnke following her teenage son’s death from a drug overdose, according to an MLive report. The investigation related to possessing pain medication not prescribed to her. No formal charges were filed.
Before her election as judge, Kuhnke worked in private practice at the law firm Davis & Kuhnke PC, which she co-founded in 1997. Her work focused on civil litigation. Her community work included serving on the Washtenaw County Board of Election Canvassers. She also served 13 years on the Ann Arbor Zoning Board of Appeals, including six years as the ZBA chair.
Kuhnke earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and art history from the University of Michigan. Her law degree is from the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
She is married to Elizabeth Janovic, an attorney. The couple has one child.
John Bredell, a local attorney, is serving as Kuhnke's campaign treasurer.
Carol Kuhnke: In The News
Police investigation of Ann Arbor judge centered on pain pills – MLive, March 14, 2017
Judge throws out lawsuit challenging Ann Arbor schools' gun ban – Michigan Radio, Sept. 23, 2015
Carol Kuhnke Sworn In To 22nd Circuit Court – PrideSource, Feb. 7, 2013
Judging the Judges: A Rare Race for an Open Seat – Ann Arbor Observer, November 2012
22nd Circuit Judicial Race Kuhnke, Fink: Candidates discuss experience, endorsements, ratings, abortion – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Oct. 29, 2012
Ann Arbor needs to keep a strong female voice on the circuit court – AnnArbor.com, Oct. 29, 2012
Fink vs. Kuhnke: Two attorneys compete for open seat on Washtenaw County's 22nd Circuit Court bench – AnnArbor.com, Oct. 12, 2012
22nd Circuit Court: Four-Way Primary Race – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, June 30, 2012
Attorney Carol A. Kuhnke Announces Candidacy for 22nd Circuit Court Judge – Washtenaw Legal News, March 5, 2012
Aspiring Judges Visit Ann Arbor Dems – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Jan. 16, 2012
ZBA Turns Down City Place Appeal – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Dec. 7, 2011