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​First District Judges


Thomas C. Cameron

Judge Thomas C. Cameron was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2017, and previously served as a judge on the Wayne County Circuit Court bench from 2014 until his appointment to the Court of Appeals.

Previously, Judge Cameron worked for the Michigan Department of Attorney General where he supervised several large civil and criminal divisions for the Attorney General, including the Civil Rights Division, Corrections Division, Criminal Division, Alcohol and Gambling Division and several other divisions. Prior to him serving as a senior manager, he served as an Assistant Attorney General, where he litigated high-profile public corruption and cold case homicides.  He is the former Chairmen of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

Judge Cameron currently serves on the board of Michigan Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Treatment Board and also as co-chair of the Criminal Justice Committee for the Michigan Judges Association.  He is a member of the Michigan Chapter of the Federalist Society, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Catholic Lawyer’s Society, the Incorporated Society of Irish-American Lawyers and a member of the University of Detroit Mercy Inns of Court.  He serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Toledo School of Law.

Judge Cameron is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Wayne State University School of Law.
Term expires January 1, 2023.

Karen Fort Hood

In November 2002, Judge Karen Fort Hood made history when she became the first black woman to be elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, received her undergraduate degree in 1980 from the Regents College of the University of the State of New York at Albany, and her law degree in 1989 from the Detroit College of Law. Early in her career, Judge Hood worked as a teacher for the Detroit Public Schools, a probation officer, and served as a Special Assistant Prosecutor and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Juvenile and Appellate divisions of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office. Judge Hood was elected to the Recorder’s Court bench in 1992. In 1997, she was elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court, where she was appointed Presiding Judge over the Criminal Division in 1999. In December, 2020 Judge Hood was elected Chairperson, Judicial Tenure Commission for a 2-year term. Judge Hood’s professional affiliations include the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, the Wolverine Bar Association, and the National Bar Association.

Term expires January 1, 2027. 

Kirsten Frank Kelly

Court of Appeals Judge Kirsten Frank Kelly graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978, and from the University of Detroit School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1981.  She joined the Detroit law firm of Durant and Durant, where she practiced civil litigation, and became a partner in the firm in 1987. In 1987, she was elected to the Grosse Pointe Park Municipal Court, and she was twice reelected to that position. After taking time off in 1991 following the birth of her third child, Judge Kelly formed another law firm and practiced both civil and criminal law. In 1994, she was appointed to the Wayne Circuit Court by Governor John Engler.

n 1997, Chief Justice Conrad Mallett appointed her presiding judge of the Family Division of the Wayne Circuit Court. In 1999, she was appointed as the presiding judge of the juvenile division of the Wayne Circuit Court.  Judge Kelly was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2000.  She is the chairman of the Court of Appeals Quality Review committee and serves on the Rules committee as well.  She is a frequent speaker for the ICLE Family Law Seminars.

Judge Kelly has served two terms as president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Judges, served on the board of directors of the Michigan District Judges Association, and has been a hearing panel vice chairman for the Attorney Grievance Commission.  She has been a volunteer with the Legal Alternatives for Women Program, supervising and instructing attorneys and lay volunteers in the proper application and implementation of domestic violence law and is active in the Women Lawyers of Michigan.

Judge Kelly’s civic activities include being an advisory board member for KIDS-Talk, a member of Leadership Detroit XVII, a charter member of the Grosse Pointe Sunrise Rotary, a board member of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and a current board member of the Detroit Executive Leadership Committee for the Kidney Foundation.  Judge Kelly and her husband, William B. Kelly, have three children. She and her family attend St. Ambrose Catholic Church.

Term expires January 1, 2025.

Anica Letica​

Judge Anica Letica was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2018. 
She first joined the Court of Appeals as a prehearing attorney in 1985.  Thereafter, she clerked for the Honorable John H. Gillis.
Judge Letica then worked in the Appellate Division of the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, handling hundreds of appeals and supporting legislation benefitting crime victims, law enforcement, and the public. 
In 2009, the Michigan Attorney General appointed Judge Letica to serve as an Assistant Attorney General in the Department’s Criminal Appellate Division.  There, she supervised criminal appeals for 56 county prosecutors along with in-state prisoner litigation.  Judge Letica also coordinated the Department’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative projects to investigate and prosecute cases arising from the testing of previously untested sexual assault kits.  In addition, Judge Letica assisted the Human Trafficking Commission and represented the Attorney General on the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.
Judge Letica is a member of the State Bar’s Criminal Law and Appellate Practice Sections, previously serving on the latter’s Council.  For a number of years, she also served on the Standard Criminal Jury Instruction Committee and was a member of the workgroup responsible for proposing revisions to the court rules governing circuit-court appellate practice.
Judge Letica has lectured for the Michigan Judicial Institute and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.  She contributed to​ the post-conviction and appellate chapters in Michigan Criminal Procedure for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and served on the editorial advisory committee for the Michigan Judicial Institute’s Criminal Proceedings Benchbook, Volume 3.
Judge Letica graduated from the University of Michigan with high distinction, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree.  She then graduated from the Wayne State University Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.  ​​
Term expires January 1, 2027.​

Christopher M. Murray

Judge Murray has been a judge on the Court of Appeals since 2002. He was appointed Chief Judge in April of 2018. Previously, he served as a judge on the Wayne Circuit Court, as Deputy Legal Counsel to Governor John M. Engler, and as an attorney in private practice.

Judge Murray currently serves on the Board of Law Examiners and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Michigan Lawyers Division of the Federalist Society. He is also a member of the Executive Committee for the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal. Judge Murray was formerly the chairman of the State Board of Ethics, previously served as a member of the Local Government Claims Review Board, the Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions, and was on the board of directors for the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the Society of Irish-American Lawyers, and the Catholic Lawyers Society. Judge Murray graduated from Hillsdale College and received his law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law​

Term expires January 1, 2027.

Michael J. Riordan

Governor Rick Snyder appointed the Honorable Michael J. Riordan to the Michigan Court of Appeals on March 16, 2012. In November 2012, Judge Riordan was elected to a full six-year term. He was re-elected in 2018.

Previously, the Judge served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, as assistant general counsel for the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, and as a senior attorney in the Enforcement Division of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Upon graduation from law school, Judge Riordan served a two-year clerkship for the Honorable Robert E. DeMascio, of the United States District for the Eastern District of Michigan. Judge Riordan is an adjunct professor of securities regulation, administrative law, and business organizations at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and was selected Adjunct Professor of the Year in 2010. Prior to law school, Judge Riordan was a Catholic secondary school English teacher and served as an Inspector with the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, now known as U.S. Customs & Border Protection. He is a member of the Federalist Society, is a past-president of the Michigan Lawyers Chapter and serves as chair of its Board of Advisors. He was a member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Board of Commissioners from 2006 through 2018. He also is a past-president of the Federal Bar Association of the Eastern District of Michigan and of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers. He is president of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Alumni Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Lawyers’ Society; Detroit’s Loyola High School; the PB&J Ministry; Marywood Nursing Center; and the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He also is a member of the Board of Advisors for Detroit’s Cristo Rey High School. Among other things, Judge Riordan is a recipient of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel’s Judicial Excellence Award; the Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association Time & Talent Award; the Michigan Irish-American Chamber of Commerce Legal Expert Award; and the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers’ Charles Rutherford, Jr. and Thomas P. “Tiger” Thornton Awards.

Judge Riordan received his B.A. from Michigan State University and his J.D.,
cum laude, from the University of Detroit School of Law where he served as Executive Editor (inside articles) of the Law Review

Term expires January 1, 2025.


Cynthia Diane Stephens

Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals in 2008, Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens served as a general jurisdiction trial judge for 23 years.  Judge Stephens was appointed to the Third Circuit Court in 1985 after service as a 36th District Court Judge.  She was the Chief Judge Pro Tempore, Mediation Tribunal Chair, and Presiding Civil Division Judge of the 3rd Circuit Court for 8 years.  An Emory Law School graduate, Judge Stephens has been admitted to practice in Georgia, Texas, and Michigan.  Prior to her election to the bench in 1981, she served as Vice-Chair of the Wayne County Charter Commission, Associate General Counsel to the Michigan Senate, Regional Director for the National Conference of Black Lawyers-Atlanta office, and consultant to the National League of Cities Veterans Discharge Upgrade Project.

She has been active in bar work including 16 years as a Commissioner of the State Bar of Michigan, chairing its Justice Initiatives Committee, Communications Committee and Children’s Task Force.  Judge Stephens is former chair of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, a former member of the Executive Board of the National Bar Association and its Judicial Council.   She has been honored by many civic and religious organizations including the inaugural Woodrow Smith Community Service Award from the Shrines of the Black Madonna, the Golden Heritage Award from Little Rock Baptist Church and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the City of Detroit Human Rights Department.  She was awarded the State Bar of Michigan’s highest honor, the Roberts P. Hudson Award in 2005.

Judge Stephens has served as adjunct faculty at Wayne State University Law School, the Detroit College of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.  She has also served as faculty member for the National Judicial College and the Michigan Judicial Institute and the Emory Law School Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques.   She was a contributing author to the Lawyer's Co-Operatives “Michigan Nonstandard Jury Instructions” as well as numerous articles on subjects ranging from jury selection to ethics.

She has served on numerous civic boards and commissions including New Detroit, the Inner City Business Improvement Forum, the Detroit Metropolitan Association Board of Trustees for the United Church of Christ, the Greater Detroit Area Health Care Council and the Girl Scouts.   She is a resident of Detroit. 

Term expires January 1, 2023.