Who’s Not Running for 86th District Court Judge?

We all know that Paul Jarboe, Haider Kazim and What About Bob Cooney are all running to be the next judge of the 86th District Court. Jarboe and Cooney both applied for the 13th Circuit Court vacancy but were turned down in favor of Judge Elsenheimer. Cooney thinks everybody loves him (spoiler: they don’t), and they all think that they can bring the right perspective to the bench.

So let’s talk about who hasn’t put their name in for 86th District Court Judge in Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Antrim Counties.

Local lawyer Bradley Putney applied for the vacated 13th Circuit Court spot but hasn’t announced running for the open seat in District Court. In this Ticker article, Putney made it clear that he’s really only looking for a circuit court position. Whether or not that was really true when he said it, it’s kind of hard to run for District Court after you’ve said something like that out loud. Also, Putney’s practice areas really aren’t district court-y. So it’s really not surprising that Putney hasn’t announced trying to win the seat in the silver building.




Then there’s Janet Mistele. She applied for the 13th Circuit Court seat and made it to interviews. She has extensive experience in both district and circuit court. Like What About Bob Cooney, Mistele began her career as a researcher and brief writer for the Michigan Court of Appeals.

In my opinion, the 86th District Court judge election for Grand Traverse County can live without Bradley Putney. Actually, it’s kind of refreshing to have someone interested in doing a specific job rather than just running for every judgeship that opens up until they win one like some people do. So I’ve got to respect his decision to ride this one out on the sidelines.

Also in my opinion, the discussion about the role of a judge, operation of the 86th District Court and current challenges within the greater Northern Michigan law enforcement community would be better if Mistele lent her voice to the discussion. Honestly, I don’t know if she could win, and perhaps it’s futile to enter an election just to add your voice to a conversation about the state of affairs, but I believe Mistele has a voice worth listening to.




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