Lawyer with 10,000 court hearings running for judge

MARQUETTE — A lawyer who has made 10,000 court hearings in his career will be running for 96th District court. Derek Swajanen has been practicing law for the last 19 years.

Swajanen, a graduate of Cooley Law School, spent time as an assistant prosecutor in Marquette County before he went into private practice.

He says his almost two decades practicing law has prepared him for a move to be behind the bench instead of in front of it.

“District court is an integral of our society,” said Swajanen. “In district court they deal with landlord vs. tenant cases, small claims cases, misdemeanors, felony preliminary examinations and probable cause hearings. For a large part of our society, they’re first introduction through the court system is through district court.”

If elected, Swajanen would like to bring a new dynamic to district court.

“Judge Girard and Judge Kangas did a great job implementing treatment and sobriety court through district court. I think we can expand upon that to a veterans court,” said Swajanen. “A lot of times we have individuals coming back from the military service and they might have some issues that relates to controlled substances or alcohol,” he added.

Swajanen is running against Judge Karl Weber, who was appointed to the 96th District Bench late last year by Governor Snyder, after Judge Dennis Girard retired.

Swajanen is one half of the law firm, Hyde & Swajanen, located on Third Street in downtown Marquette.