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Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission names first Black woman as chair

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has appointed Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Karen Fort Hood as chair, making her the first Black woman to head the panel, the JTC announced Tuesday.

The Judicial Tenure Commission is an independent state agency responsible for investigating Michigan judges and addressing ethics, judicial misconduct and incapacity against them.

Judge Karen Fort Hood

The late Michigan Appeals Court Judge Harold Hood, who was chair of the commission from 1988-1990, was the first and only other African-American to chair the lead the panel in its 52-year history. Karen Fort Hood and Harold Hood are not related to one another.

This is the second time Karen Fort Hood has broken racial barriers as a judge. In November 2002, she became the first Black woman be elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and probation officer, Hood was elected to the former Detroit Recorder’s Court bench in 1992.

Other appointments announced Tuesday by the JTC include the election of Judge Jon Hulsing, who sits on the Ottawa County Circuit Court, as vice chair and attorney JameBurdick, who was elected as commission secretary.

Hood, Hulsing and Burdick will serve for two years.