15th District Court

Judges

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Elizabeth Pollard Hines,  Judge

Elizabeth Pollard Hines was elected to the 15th Judicial District Court bench in 1992. She is the former Presiding Judge of the District Court Division of the Washtenaw County Trial Court when all courts in the county were unified. She presides over primarily criminal cases including a specialized domestic violence docket. Judge Hines helped create and launch "Street Outreach Court", a community project of the Washtenaw County criminal justice system and advocates for the homeless.

Judge Hines received her Bachelor of Arts, with honor, from the University of Michigan in 1974, and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law in 1977.

In 1987, Judge Hines was appointed first Chair of Ann Arbor's Domestic Violence Coordinating Board. She represented her colleagues on the Executive Committee managing a Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative (JODI) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women from 1999 to 2004, one of three sites in the country selected to see what works best in cases of domestic violence. She helps train new judges on domestic violence through the Michigan Judicial Institute. She was appointed to serve on the Governor's Task Force on Children's Justice and the Governor's Task Force on Batterer Intervention Standards. She was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to the Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure to review rules of criminal procedure used by all Michigan courts. She currently serves on the State Planning Body, addressing legal services in Michigan, was a member of the Access to Justice Committee of the Michigan State Bar's Judicial Crossroads Task Force, and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to serve on the SOS (Solutions on Self-Help) Task Force, looking for ways to better accommodate self-represented litigants. She was a member of the National Domestic Violence Court Technical Assistance Consultancy Team for the Center for Court Innovation and the National Center for State Court's Advisory Committee for its Problem-Solving Justice Toolkit.  In 2015, she was elected to serve on the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

Elected to the Board of Governors of the American Judges Association (AJA), Judge Hines is currently Co-Chair of the AJA Domestic Violence Committee, past Chair of the AJA Access to Justice Committee, and a member of the AJA Executive Committee. She is active in her community and has received numerous awards including the "Patriot Award" from the Washtenaw County Bar Association, and the "2008 Distinguished Service Award" from the National Center for State Courts. In 2011 and 2014, she was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts. In August of 2011, she was awarded the first annual "Judicial Excellence Award" by the Michigan District Judges Association. In 2012, the American Judges Association created the "Judge Libby Hines Award" to honor each year a judge in the US or Canada for significant contributions for an effective response to domestic violence.  Judge Hines was presented the first award at the AJA annual conference in 2012.

Judge Hines is a member of the Michigan State Bar Association, the Michigan State Bar Foundation,  the Washtenaw County Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, the American Judges Association, the National Association of Women Judges, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges,  and the Michigan District Judges Association.

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 and traffic 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 landlord-tenant, 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 
734.794.6750