Author: marykellyforjustice

Michigan Radio – Meet Michigan Supreme Court candidate Mary Kelly

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

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/meet-michigan-supreme-court-candidate-mary-kelly 

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 www.marykellyforjustice.com. 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

Michigan Chamber of Commerce Supports Mary Kelly for Michigan Supreme Court

September 14, 2020 – The Michigan Chamber of Commerce announced today its support for Mary Kelly for the Michigan Supreme Court.

In a release, Arny Rodriguez, Michigan Chamber Political Action Committee Chair and President and CEO, Technical Professional Services, Inc. said “Michigan Chamber members are focused on electing candidates who will ensure Michigan has a fair and balanced Supreme Court. With so many important and complicated issues coming before the Court, voters need confidence that those ruling on precedent-setting cases are dedicated public servants’ whose only intent is to be fair and impartial.”

Mary Kelly said, “I am humbled and grateful to earn the support of the Chamber of Commerce. I believe in the rule of law and equal justice under the law for all those who come before the Court. These principles are the foundation which allow us all to have confidence in our system of jurisprudence.”

“A stable, predictable legal climate is a key factor in Michigan’s economic competitiveness,” said Rich Studley, President and CEO of Michigan Chamber. “At the Michigan Chamber, we know from experience that job providers can win a public policy battle in the legislature only to lose the war in court.”

Majority Of County Prosecutors Support Mary Kelly For Supreme Court Justice

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

Sincerely,

Mary Kelly

Former St. Clair County Prosecutor gets Republican nomination for Michigan Supreme Court

By Laura FitzgeraldPort Huron Times Herald

Mary Kelly, a former St. Clair County prosecutor, has been nominated by the Michigan Republican Party for the Michigan Supreme Court. 

“Thank you to the Michigan Republican party delegates and activists who nominated me this weekend to run for Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. I am honored and humbled and will work hard to win this November,” Kelly said on her Facebook campaign page Sunday, following the convention on Aug. 29 and 30.  

She is vying for two open seats. Justice Stephen Markman cannot seek re-election because the Michigan Constitution bars candidates 70 or older from being elected or appointed. Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, who was nominated by the Michigan Democratic Party, is seeking re-election.

Other candidates running for the seats are Brock Swartzle, who was also nominated at the Republican convention for the position; Democrat Elizabeth Welch; Libertarians Kerry Morgan and Katherine Nepton; and Green Party candidate Susan Hubbard.

All Supreme Court candidates will be on the non-partisan section of the November ballot. 

Kelly is currently St. Clair County’s guardian ad litem, where she represents the children of neglect and abuse cases and assess their needs and desires prior to court hearings.

She was appointed to the position in April 2019. She is the wife of St. Clair County Chief Circuit Court Judge Daniel Kelly. 

Mary Kelly, right, then-working as an assistant prosecuting attorney, looks over evidence bags during a trial in 2015 in the courtroom of Judge Cynthia Lane. Kelly was nominated by the Michigan Republican Party for Michigan Supreme Court Justice.

She served in the St. Clair County Prosecutor’s Office for 30 years, where she started and led the criminal sexual conduct unit. The unit tried all physical and sexual abuse cases against children and minors. She also prosecuted felony cases involving murder, robbery, assault, controlled substances and financial crime cases, according to her campaign website. 

Kelly also served in private practice as a general practitioner, with emphasis on domestic matters, civil litigation and criminal matters.

Kelly’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. 

GOP holds run-off vote, Dems boot incumbent WSU board member at nominating conventions

By Beth LeBlancThe Detroit News

Michigan’s Republican and Democratic parties have chosen their nominees for the Michigan Supreme Court, Wayne State Board of Governors and University of Michigan Board of Regents, cementing the nominees to appear on November ballots.

The Republican Party decided Sunday afternoon on their nominations for State Board of Education and Michigan State University Board of Trustees after split votes in those races prompted a secondary run-off vote.

Democrats, in finalizing their nominees, kicked one incumbent Wayne State University Board of Governors candidate off November’s ballot. 

The nominations were made at the end of what were largely virtual conventions over the weekend, according to results reported by both parties.

Michigan Democratic Party chairwoman Lavora Barnes praised the selections for the Democratic ticket, arguing that “they represent the best of Michigan.”

“They are dedicated public servants that are committed to ensuring that our courts are fair and just, that our K-12 education system is serving all children in Michigan, and that our higher education institutions are meeting the needs of college students,” Barnes said in a statement Sunday.

Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox, in her prepared remarks Saturday, touted the party’s candidates and urged Republicans to actively promote President Donald Trump amid high Democratic motivation to take Michigan in November for former vice president Joe Biden, following Trump’s roughly 10,000-vote victory in the state in 2016. 

“In 2020, all eyes will be on Michigan Republicans to deliver for President Trump, John James, and Republicans up and down the ballot,” Cox said. 

Michigan Republicans nominated former state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker Saturday for the MSU Board of Trustees and, after Sunday’s run-off vote, financial advisor Pat O’Keefe. Schuitmaker and O’Keefe will run against Democratic incumbent Brian Mosallam and former teacher Dr. Rema Vassar, who were nominated by their party Saturday.

 

Michigan Supreme Court race taking shape with two potential GOP candidates

By Craig Mauger The Detroit News

Lansing — The November race for control of Michigan’s high court has now drawn two potential Republican nominees — a state Court of Appeals judge and a longtime St. Clair County lawyer.

Two of the seven seats on the Michigan Supreme Court are up for election. Republican-nominated justices hold four of the seven seats, a majority that could be in jeopardy this fall after Democratic nominee Megan Cavanagh flipped a GOP-held seat in 2018.

Democratic-nominated justices last held a majority briefly in 2010.

One of the seats up for election this year is held by Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, a Democratic nominee who is seeking re-election and will run with an incumbency designation on the ballot. The designation identifies a candidate as a “justice of Supreme Court.”

Justice Stephen Markman, a GOP nominee, holds the other seat, but he can’t run again because the Michigan Constitution bars judges 70 or older from being elected or appointed.

Voters elected both McCormack and Markman to full eight-year terms on the court in 2012.

In December, Grand Rapids area attorney Elizabeth Welch launched her campaign with the intention of running with McCormack as the Democratic nominees. Welch and McCormack received the endorsement of the Michigan Democratic Party in May.

“Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and Elizabeth Welch bring the experience, the passion and the constitutional knowledge that is so needed,” party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes, said in a statement.

On May 28, Brock Swartzle, who was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Republican then-Gov. Rick Snyder in 2017, announced he would seek a GOP nomination for the Supreme Court.

Swartzle previously served as chief of staff for former Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, and as general counsel for the Michigan House Republicans.

This week, Mary Kelly of Fort Gratiot who served 30 years in the St. Clair County Prosecutor’s Office, announced she would also seek a GOP nomination.

“Being a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court is a role which demands focus, responsibility, civility and respect. It would be a privilege to succeed Justice Markman on the Michigan Supreme Court,” Mary Kelly said in a press release.

Mary Kelly

She happens to have a similar name to former Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly, a Republican-nominated justice who resigned in August 2015 to return to private practice. 

The Michigan Republican Party is scheduled to officially select its two Michigan Supreme Court nominees during a state convention on Aug. 29. Other candidates for the GOP nominations could still emerge.

MARY KELLY ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT

Kelly: “As a prosecutor and victims advocate, my entire career has been dedicated to protecting families and children”

Fort Gratiot, Mich. – Today, Mary Kelly announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination to the Michigan Supreme Court. Mary Kelly has served over 30 years as a highly-respected and award winning St. Clair County Prosecutor. In addition, she has served in private practice before the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals and currently serves as the St. Clair County Lawyer Guardian Ad Litem. In this role, Mary represents the children of neglect abuse cases in St. Clair County.

Over her career, from leading the St. Clair County Prosecutors Office Criminal Sexual Conduct Unit focusing on sexual and physical abuse to prosecuting those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Mary Kelly has been steadfast champion of the rights of victims. Mary successfully prosecuted the first Drunk Driving/Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol causing Death case in St. Clair County.

Mary Kelly said, “As a prosecutor and victims advocate, my entire career has been dedicated to protecting families and children. I will continue to be committed to common-sense, rule-of-law principles which give everyone in Michigan equal justice under the law. Being a Justice on the Michigan Supreme Court is a role which demands focus, responsibility, civility and respect. It would be a privilege to succeed Justice Markman on the Michigan Supreme Court.”

I have spent a career in the courtroom and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that judges should interpret the laws according to how they are written by the legislature, not according to how judges wish they were written. Judges are supposed to interpret the laws; they are not supposed to write the law. This simple act gives all of us a judicial system we can count on where everyone is afforded the opportunity for equal justice and fairness in the courtroom.”

Mary Kelly is seeking an eight year term beginning January 2021. She now proceeds to the Republican State Convention in August and if nominated, will run on the non-partisan section of the ballot in November.