22nd Circuit Court Judge

Carol Kuhnke

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Carol Kuhnke 

There are two seats on the ballot for 22nd Circuit Court Judge, and only two candidates who are running in that race: Incumbents Carol Kuhnke and Tim Connors. These positions are for six-year terms. 

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.

Click here for a description of the 14A District Court as well as links to other judicial candidate profiles.

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 banMichigan 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 SeatAnn Arbor Observer, November 2012

22nd Circuit Judicial Race Kuhnke, Fink: Candidates discuss experience, endorsements, ratings, abortionThe Ann Arbor Chronicle, Oct. 29, 2012

Ann Arbor needs to keep a strong female voice on the circuit, Oct. 29, 2012

Fink vs. Kuhnke: Two attorneys compete for open seat on Washtenaw County's 22nd Circuit Court, 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 JudgeWashtenaw Legal News, March 5, 2012

Aspiring Judges Visit Ann Arbor DemsThe Ann Arbor Chronicle, Jan. 16, 2012

ZBA Turns Down City Place AppealThe Ann Arbor Chronicle, Dec. 7, 2011