DEARBORN — The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Judge Gene Hunt as chief judge of the 19th District Court, Wayne County’s second-largest district court, for a third two-year term, effective Jan. 1.
By court rule (MCR 8.110), a chief judge is the presiding officer of the court and is responsible for caseload management and disposition of judicial workloads, supervision of all court personnel, finances and other critical functions.
Under Hunt’s leadership, the 19th District Court navigated the challenges of the global pandemic while continuing to deliver first-class service to the public.
I am extremely proud of our team’s accomplishments and optimistic about the future at the 19th District Court. — Chief Judge Gene Hunt
Court operations continued without interruption during this period, due to Hunt’s collaborative leadership approach and willingness to embrace and expand new methods of delivering services.
“We’ve adapted our operation to ensure continuing access to justice, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the pandemic,” Hunt said. “Everyone involved in our organization, judges, court staff, attorneys and police, made it possible to continue operating at a high level.”
Hunt has also expanded the role of technology in the court, implementing online dispute resolution that allows court users to negotiate traffic violations and address outstanding bench warrants remotely. He also continues to serve as the presiding judge for the Veteran’s Treatment Court and the Drug/Sobriety Court, which are grant-funded programs based on a holistic approach directed towards treatment and recovery for participants.
Hunt also plans to expand the Drug/Sobriety Court.
“There is a desperate need for these types of programs in our community, and the court is uniquely positioned to help individuals with substance abuse challenges,” he said. “It is my goal to provide as many opportunities as possible for members of our community to get the help they need.”
Hunt has also been an advocate for the creation of the Regional Managed Assigned Counsel Office, a collaborative venture among district courts and municipalities in Wayne County and the first of its kind in Michigan. The office will centralize and streamline the administration of indigent defense services as required by the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.
Off the bench, Hunt is a member of the Dearborn Exchange Club, the Optimist Club, American Legion, Marine Corp League and the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council.
“I am extremely proud of our team’s accomplishments at the court and I am honored by the opportunity to continue serving as chief judge,” Hunt said. “I’m very fortunate to have such incredible partners on the bench. Judge Salamey and Judge Somers are true professionals who care deeply for our community. I am optimistic about the future at the 19th District Court.”
Hunt will be seeking a second six-year term next November.