By John Raffel
ALLEGAN – The long-desired third circuit court judge for Allegan Couny has finally become a reality following an extensive amount of local effort for this to happen.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer last week signed the bill introduced by senators McCann and Nesbitt authorizing the addition of a third circuit court judge for Allegan County,” Allegan County Board of Commissioners chairman Jim Storey said.
“The bill also created an additional circuit court position in Kalamazoo County,” Storey said. “Senator McCann represents that county. The newest circuit court judge will be elected in the 2024 general election and will take office on January 1, 2025. The bill faced a long journey through the Legislature after the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution early last year urging the creation of the third judge to attack jury trial delays and ease the caseload for the county’s two current circuit court judges, Margaret Zurich Bakker and Roberts Kengis.
“Creation of the new judicial bench adds urgency to plans for the reconfiguration of the existing county building into a courthouse to host circuit, district and probate courts and functions directly related to serving those offices.”