15th District Court


Skip Navigation LinksHome » Departments » 15th District Court » About » Judges

‚Äč Miriam A. Perry,  Judge

Miriam A. Perry was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court bench by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on December 16, 2020. She presides over criminal and traffic cases. 

Judge Perry received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1993 from Spelman College.  She attended the University of Michigan Law School and was awarded her Juris Doctor degree in 1998.

Prior to her appointment, she served as a clinical fellow at the University of Michigan of Veterans Legal Clinic. Judge Perry was an assistant public defender for the Washtenaw County Public Defender's Office for over 14 years.  From 2001 to 2006, she worked as a judicial attorney at the Third Circuit Court of Michigan and then briefly as a law clerk at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. After law school, she participated in the Japanese Exchange in Teaching program in Japan for two years.

Judge Perry is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Washtenaw County Bar Association, Michigan District Judges Association, Association of Black Judges of Michigan, American Judges Association, Black Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Womens Lawyers Association of Michigan, NAACP, Ann Arbor Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Kiwanis Club.


Karen Quinlan Valvo, Judge

Karen Quinlan Valvo was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court bench by Governor Rick Snyder on January 5, 2016 and elected on November 8, 2016 to complete the term.  She presides over criminal, traffic, and landlord-tenant cases and the specialized Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court dockets.

Judge Quinlan Valvo received her Bachelor of Science in Public Law and Government, summa cum laude, in 1993 from Eastern Michigan University.  She attended the University of Toledo College of Law and was awarded her Juris Doctor degree in 1997.

Before her appointment, Judge Quinlan Valvo practiced with the law firm Fink & Valvo, PLLC. During her time there, she specialized in general civil litigation, property management/landlord-tenant work, real estate transactions, probate and estate planning, and family law.  Judge Valvo holds a certificate in family law mediation, has served as an arbitrator and a parenting coordinator.  She is certified in collaborative practice.

Judge Quinlan Valvo has served as an instructor and author/editor for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in both the Real Estate Sections and Family Law Sections.

Judge Quinlan Valvo has served as a board member for several community organizations.  She is currently a member of the Advisory Committee for the Paralegal Studies Program and the Advisory Committee to the College of Technology at Eastern Michigan University.  She is a member of Ann Arbor Rotary International.  She has served as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Washtenaw Area Apartment Association, the Advisory Board and Governance Committee for the Ypsilanti Area Community Foundation and on the Board of Directors for Washtenaw 100.  She served on the Board of Regents at Eastern Michigan University from 2001-2006 and was elected chair in 2005-2006.  She was elected to a two year term as Commissioner on the City of Ypsilanti Charter Commission in November 2010.

Judge Quinlan Valvo was appointed by the Supreme Court to three two year terms (2001-2007) on the Attorney Grievance Commission and was appointed chair of the Commission for the 2006-2007 term. She served on the Board of the Washtenaw County Bar Association for ten years and served as President from 2008-2009. 

Judge Quinlan Valvo is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Washtenaw County Bar Association, the Ypsilanti Bar Association, the Michigan District Judges Association, the American Bar Association,  the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and is a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

Joseph F. Burke, Chief Judge

Joseph F. Burke was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court bench by Governor Rick Snyder on February 15, 2012. He was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as Chief Judge effective January 1, 2016. He presides over general civil and drunk driving cases as well as the specialized Sobriety Court docket.

Judge Burke received his Bachelor of Arts in 1978 from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He attended the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and was awarded his Juris Doctor degree in 1982. He has also completed advanced training from the National College of District Attorneys in the areas of computer forensics and the use of technology in courts.

Judge Burke has lived and worked in Ann Arbor his entire legal career. From 1982 to 1986 he was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Washtenaw County Prosecutor William F. Delhey. In 1986, he entered private practice at the long-established law firm of Burke & Rennell, P.C. In 1993, he returned to the Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorneys Office when Prosecutor Brian L. Mackie appointed him Chief Assistant, the position he held until March 2012 when he left to join the 15th Judicial District Court bench.
Judge Burke has served several local non-profit organizations as a board member, including Neighborhood Senior Services, Humane Society Of Huron Valley (past president), the Washtenaw Council on Alcoholism (past president) and Dawn Farm. He is the current president of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band.

Judge Burke is a member of the State Bar Association, the American Judges Association and the Michigan District Judges Association.

Tamara A. Garwood, Magistrate

Tamara Garwood was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court bench by Chief Judge Joseph F. Burke in May 2016.

Magistrate Garwood obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 1995 and a Juris Doctor degree from the Detroit College of Law in 1999.

Prior to her appointment, she had been in private practice for 17 years.  Magistrate Garwood has regularly served as a Mediator, Arbitrator, and Guardian ad Litem.

Magistrate Garwood has been a contributor for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.  She is also a volunteer with several community organizations.

Magistrate Garwood is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Washtenaw County Bar Association.

Magistrate Garwood has been admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as Federal District Court for the Western District of Michigan.  She also serves as a committee member for the State Bar of Michigan District G Committee for Character and Fitness.  She has served on the Board of the Washtenaw County Bar Association and has held various positions with the Association.

15th District Court
Ann Arbor Justice Center
301 E Huron St
PO Box 8650
Ann Arbor, MI 48107