Month: October 2020

Michigan Radio – Meet Michigan Supreme Court candidate Mary Kelly

Click below to listen to Mary Kelly’s interview with Michigan Radio. 

From the story:

Michigan voters will elect two justices to the state Supreme Court in November. Mary Kelly is one of the seven candidates.

Candidate: Mary Kelly

Current Position: St. Clair County guardian ad litem

Nominated by: Republican Party*

*All judicial candidates in Michigan are listed as nonpartisan on the ballot.

See all of Michigan Radio’s state Supreme Court candidate interviews

During three decades of work at the St. Clair County prosecutor’s office, Mary Kelly witnessed a lot of changes.

Kelly, who retired as senior assistant prosecutor, ran the county’s Criminal Sexual Conduct Unit. She said the legal system’s approach to cases involving children has shifted.

“For so many years, these cases didn’t come forward. Children were afraid to talk. Parents and teachers and other members of the community didn’t really know how to handle this information,” Kelly told Michigan Radio.

After Kelly retired, St. Clair County hired her to serve as the couty’s guardian ad litem. In that role, she works on behalf of children in cases of alleged neglect. Kelly said today much more goes  into decisions about how and when to put children on the stand to testify.

“With a child victim, they’re not adults, and they’re scared,” she said. “[It’s the] thought of putting them in front of a jury and just being able to make it comfortable as possible.”

A prosecutor’s mindset

The nation is in the midst of ongoing debate over police practices and how policing should look in the future. Kelly spent 30 years prosecuting cases investigated by police. It’s conceivable that a justice elected in 2020 could hear cases involving the actions of police or issues tied to police reform. How would Kelly pull back to view those types of cases without relying soley on a prosecutor’s mindset?

“I believe that in every profession there are those that are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and they’re an embarrassment to the profession,” she said. “When I’m arguing before a jury representing victims of crime and asking for conviction, it better be a well-investigated case. It all better be truthful, and there should not be any tolerance in any profession for those that aren’t following the rules and are creating injustices for others.”

The court’s makeup 

“As a judge or a justice, it’s the responsibility of that person to interpret the law in the manner it was written.” -Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly is one of six white candidates for the Supreme Court this year. Libertarian Party nominee Katherine Mary Nepton, who is Native American, is the only person of color on the ballot. The current justices are all white.

Kelly would like to see more diversity on the court, but also thinks each justice’s job is clear.

“It always boils down to being fair and to being equal. And as a judge or a justice, it’s the responsibility of that person to interpret the law in the manner it was written. If laws are not interpreted in the manner in which they were written by the legislature then they’re not being applied fairly and equally,” Kelly said.

She also lamented the exit of the last African-American justice to sit on the court.

“Kurt Wilder was a wonderful justice and he was up for reelection [in 2018] and he lost in the election. And that was very unfortunate for the court.”

Beyond crime and punishment

The Michigan court system describes problem-solving courts as “innovative programs designed to address an offender’s underlying problem.” As a prosecutor, Kelly dealt with many drunk-driving cases that came through the system.

“I was part of a committee that brought reform in the early 2000s. We put a wonderful program into our county jail. It’s a 30-day inpatient program that focuses on dealing with the substance abuse and help these individuals so that they’re not continuing to cycle through the same problems,” she said.

“I definitely believe in dealing with the problem. Otherwise, people are going to cycle back.”

Lauren Talley contributed to this story.

Editor’s note: Quotes in this story have been edited for length and clarity. You can hear the full interview at the top of the page. 

Majority Of County Prosecutors Support Mary Kelly For Supreme Court Justice (Updated October 16)

As I continue to travel through Michigan, I am humbled by the support for my candidacy for Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.  As an assistant County prosecutor for over 30 years, my career has been dedicated to protecting children and advocating for families.  I am proud to announce that a majority of County prosecutors support my candidacy for the Michigan Supreme Court. They are:

  1. Alcona County Tom Weichel (R)
  2. Allegan County Myrene Koch (R)
  3. Antrim County Jim Rossiter (R)
  4. Baraga County Joe O’Leary
  5. Barry County Julie Pratt (R)
  6. Benzie County Sara Swanson (R)
  7. Berrien County Mike Sepic (R)
  8. Branch County Valerie White
  9. Calhoun County Dave Gilbert (R)
  10. Cass County Vic Fitz (R)
  11. Charlevoix County Allen Telgenhof (R)
  12. Chippewa County Robert Stratton III
  13. Clare County Michelle Ambrozaitis (R)
  14. Clinton County Chuck Sherman (R)
  15. Crawford County Sierra Koch (R)
  16. Delta County Brett Gardner (R)
  17. Dickinson County Lisa Richards (R)
  18. Eaton County Doug Lloyd (R)
  19. Emmet County James Linderman (R)
  20. Gladwin County Aaron Miller (R)
  21. Gogebic County Nick Jacobs (D)
  22. Grand Traverse Noelle Moeggenberg (R)
  23. Gratiot County Keith Kushion (R)
  24. Hillsdale County Neal Brady (R)
  25. Huron CountyTim Rutkowski (R)
  26. Ionia County Kyle Butler (R)
  27. Iron County Melissa Powell (D)
  28. Isabella County David Barberi (R)
  29. Jackson County Jerry Jarzinka (R)
  30. Klakaska County Mike Perrault (R)
  31. Kent County Chris Becker (R)
  32. Leelanau County Joe Hubbell (R)
  33. Lenawee County Burke Castleberry (R)
  34. Livingston Bill Vailencourt (R)
  35. Mackinac County Stuart Spencer (R)
  36. Manistee County Jason Haag (R)
  37. Mecosta County Brian Thiede (R)
  38. Menominee County Jeff Rogg (R)
  39. Midland County J Dee Brooks (R)
  40. Missaukee County David DenHouten (R)
  41. Monroe County Mike Roehrig (R)
  42. Montcalm County Andrea Krause (R)
  43. Newaygo County Ellsworth Stay (R)
  44. Oceana County Joe Bizon (R)
  45. Osceola County Anthony Badovinac (R)
  46. Ottawa County Ron Frantz (R)
  47. St. Clair County Mike Wendling (R)
  48. Sanilac County Jim Young (R)
  49. Schoolcraft County Tim Noble (R)
  50. Tuscola County Mark Reene (R)
  51. Van Buren County Mike Bedford (R)
  52. Wexford County Jason Elmore (R)

I strongly believe that justices should implement the rule of law where they interpret and apply the law as written by the legislature. I am honored by the support I am gaining and hope I can earn your vote. To find out more, go to Sincerely,

Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly for Supreme Court Justice Endorsements

  • 52 County Prosecutors
  • The Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Right to Life
  • Citizens for Traditional Values
  • Michigan Medical Society PAC
  • Former Rule of Law Chief Justices of Michigan Supreme Court Robert Young, Maura Corrigan and Clifford Taylor
  • A host of other political, community, civic and legal leaders