By Gari Voss
The announcement came on August 10, 2023, that Matthew Antkoviak had received the appointment from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to fill the position on the Allegan County 48th Circuit Court left by the retirement of Judge Roberts Kengis.
““[Antkoviak] brings diverse legal experience and expertise to the bench where he will uphold the rule of law and ensure every Michigander is treated with respect in the courtroom,” said Whitmer.
In response to his appointment, Antkoviak stated, “I am grateful and honored to accept the appointment by Governor Whitmer to serve as a Circuit Court Judge. As a lifelong member of this community and practitioner of 24 years, I look forward to serving the people of Allegan County. I will endeavor to treat all persons with respect, fairness, and equal access to justice under the law.”
Antkoviak is a graduate of Allegan High School who earned his BA at Michigan State University before receiving his Juris Doctor at the New England School of Law in Boston, MA. After passing the Bar Exam, in 1999 Matthew became a partner at Antkoviak and Antkoviak, PC where he began practicing with his father Peter and soon after with his brother Christopher. The firm has specialized in criminal defense representation, family law, general civil litigation, probate matters, real estate, personal injury and auto accidents.
As a lifelong resident of Allegan, Antkoviak has had a positive impact in the community, and clients often thank him for his assistance through their numerous problems. In addition, from 2001-2002, Matt served as President of the Allegan County Bar Association, he has been active in the Defense Attorney group, and is the current chair of the Allegan County Corrections Advisory Board.
Upon learning of Antkoviak’s appointment, Roberts Kengis posted, “I’m very pleased to share this news. Gov. Whitmer has appointed the next judge for Allegan County Circuit Court. Mr. Antkoviak is highly qualified, and I am confident he will serve our citizens with integrity, compassion, and respect for the law and justice!”
This is just the first step for the soon-to-be 48th Circuit Court judge as he is scheduled to begin his tenure on August 28, 2023. Before stepping into the courtroom, he will be working with his father and brother, who have been generous in taking on his private cases, while reviewing appointed cases that will go back to the Public Defender’s Office.
This appointment encompasses August 28, 2023, through December 31, 2024. Antkoviak will need to run a campaign for the 2024 election and be voted into the position by the people of Allegan County to complete Judge Kengis’ six-year term from 2020-2026. If he is successful in 2024, he will again need to run in 2026 to secure a full six-year term.
As Antkoviak embarks on his new appointment, he shared, “I am enthusiastic to begin this new phase of my career. I want to be a fair, impartial, and compassionate advocate for the law and those who come into the courtroom. I believe it is important that people feel they have been listened to, heard, and understood while knowing that I will apply the law to each situation.”
His enthusiasm is tempered knowing the responsibilities associated with the appointment. “I am very thorough and bring expertise with consistency. At the same time, there will be a learning curve. Allegan County has a diverse group of judges. I am fortunate to be working with Margaret Bakker and Michael Buck. They, and other judges, have made themselves available to me for which I am thankful.”
The investiture ceremony will be Thursday, August 24, 2023 at 4 PM in Judge Bakker’s courtroom when he will be sworn in and receive his robe. This is one of the oldest traditions of the courts with a bit of pomp and circumstance. It is also quite solemn as the new judge will be invested and take the oaths of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States and to apply justice equally.