Honorable Richard D. Ball, Chief Judge
Judge Ball serves the students of Michigan State University and hears cases ranging from traffic tickets to serious felonies started at the district court level. He also hears a great deal of Minor in Possession cases. This is an excerpt from a biography posted on the Michigan State University website:
I was a member of the first James Madison College class that enrolled in September, 1967. I concentrated in the field of justice, morality and constitutional democracy and was successfully graduated in the spring of 1971. Because I was required to perform military service after graduation, I enlisted in the Michigan National Guard in 1971. While awaiting active duty I enrolled in a master’s degree program in journalism at MSU. Fellow JMC graduate Diane Green and I married September 11, 1971. We are still married and Diane works part-time as an office administrator.
I did not complete the journalism program and after completing six months’ of active duty, I enrolled in Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s first full-time class in September, 1973. I was graduated in the spring of 1976, took and passed the Michigan bar exam several months later, and opened a private law practice in November, 1976. The law practice evolved into a small law firm located in South Lansing. Meanwhile my wife and I produced three daughters, moved to East Lansing in 1986, and I was elected to the East Lansing Public Schools Board of Education in 1988.
My daughter Lisa received her degree in special education from Purdue University in 2000 and teaches in Atlanta, GA. My daughter Megan is completing bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in special education for autistic children, and my daughter Janell is currently a junior at Hope College and is considering a career in international development.
In 1992, I challenged an incumbent 54-B District Court Judge (East Lansing) for election, and eked out a 67-vote (69 after the recount) victory and I have been in that position since.
I keep a tattered copy of the Federalist Papers, along with version of the Papers purportedly written in modern language, on my desk. I continually reference these writings as I attempt to continually advocate the independence of the judiciary from the executive and legislative branches, and my Madison experience provided an appreciation for the manner in which public policy is developed and the importance of considering all points of view before formalizing policy.
Honorable Andrea Andrews Larkin
Judge Larkin was elected to a six-year term of office by voters during the 2012 November General Election. She took office on January 1, 2013. She replaced Judge David L. Jordon, who retired as of December 31, 2012, following 23 years of service to the court.
Larkin graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1980 and received her Juris Doctorate from the Notre Dame Law School in 1983. She practiced law at the Varnum Firm in Grand Rapids, where she was the acting assistant city attorney for Grandville and had an extensive District Court practice. She was a partner in the Lansing office of the Detroit law firm of Dickinson Wright, where she practiced civil and commercial litigation in all the courts of Michigan (District, Circuit, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court), as well as the Federal Courts.
Larkin and her husband Michael, an attorney with the Sinas Dramis law firm, have lived in the East Lansing community for 24 years and have three children; Edward, 23; Theodore, 21; and Grace, 16.
Judge Larkin campaigned heavily on the campus of Michigan State University and won the student vote in the election.