14A District Court Judge

J. Cedric Simpson

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J. Cedric Simpson 

J. Cedric Simpson is the incumbent 14A District Court Judge running for re-election to a six-year term. He faces local attorney Thomas Bourque in the Nov. 6 general election.

Simpson was appointed to the bench in 1999 by Republican Gov. John Engler. He was unchallenged when he ran in 2000, 2006 and 2012. He is the only black judge serving in the Washtenaw County court system.

From 2002 to 2007, Simpson served as chief judge for the court. He currently presides over the 14A-1 District Court located at the Washtenaw County Service Center at 4133 Washtenaw Ave. 

In September 2013, Simpson was accused of judicial misconduct for attempting to interfere with the arrest and subsequent investigation of his intern, who had gotten into a car accident while driving under the influence. Simpson denied any interference or wrongdoing. In 2014, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC) filed a formal complaint against Simpson for that incident and ultimately recommended that he be removed from the bench. Instead, the Michigan Supreme Court gave him a nine-month suspension without pay, from July 2017 through April 2018.

In addition to his judicial work, Simpson has been an adjunct professor at Washtenaw Community College and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Ann Arbor. 

Before his appointment as judge, Simpson worked for the Ann Arbor law firm Hamilton, McDonald PC. When he later became a partner, the firm was renamed Hamilton, McDonald, & Simpson PC. His private practice focused on civil and criminal litigation and municipal ordinance enforcement, with a concentration in HUD-subsidized housing and landlord/tenant issues.

Simpson has served on boards for several civic and nonprofit groups, including the Community Action Network, the Corner Health Center, and the Peace Neighborhood Center Advisory Board.

He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a law degree from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schork, CEO of the Ann Arbor State Bank, is Simpson's campaign treasurer.

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

J. Cedric Simpson:  In The News

Attorney, incumbent battle for district court seat in Washtenaw CountyMLive, Oct. 31, 2018

Judicial ChallengeAnn Arbor Observer, October 2018

Judge candidates take aim at specialty courts, biasMLive, Oct. 6, 2018

Judicial candidate forum (video)Dispute Resolution Center, Oct. 4, 2018

Judge back on bench after suspension for interfering in drunk-driving arrest MLive, April 27, 2018

Washtenaw County judges to pick up slack in wake of Simpson suspensionMLive, July 27, 2017

Supreme Court orders judge suspended 9 months for interfering in arrestMLive, July 25, 2017

Judge Simpson: Black robes on the ropes The Ann, Nov. 1, 2015

'Business as usual' at 14A-1 District Court while Supreme Court mulls Judge Simpson's fateMLive, Sept. 8, 2015

Commission: Remove Washtenaw County judge from officeMichigan Radio, Sept. 1, 2015

Judge decides J. Cedric Simpson acted improperly during intern's arrestMLive, April 28, 2015

Judge J. Cedric Simpson accused of lying to state judicial commissionMLive, April 2, 2015

Former intern of Judge J. Cedric Simpson says 'we just knew we could go to him'MLive, March 31, 2015

Officer let J. Cedric Simpson at intern's arrest scene because 'he's a judge'MLive, March 31, 2015

Hearing moved to March for judge accused of interfering with intern's arrestMLive, Feb. 19, 2015

IMO: Washtenaw District Court Judge Responds to Ghost AccuserAnother Ann Arbor, December 2014

Judge accused of meddling after intern stopped by policeDetroit Free Press, Nov. 13, 2014

Attorney: Judge J. Cedric Simpson will fight allegations he interfered with intern's arrest MLive, Nov. 13, 2014

Community members hold meeting to seek answers, object to Judge J. Cedric Simpson's, July 13, 2010

Washtenaw District Judge Cedric Simpson reassigned to civil cases, July 6, 2010

Column: Weeding Out The TruthThe Ann Arbor Chronicle, Feb. 15, 2009