Long-time 52-3 District Court judge to retire

Julie Nicholson served 27 years on the bench

52-3 District Court Judge Julie Nicholson announced Tuesday that she is retiring after more than 27 years on the bench effective April 1.

Located in Rochester Hills, the district court serves 11 communities which include Auburn Hills, Lake Angeles, Lake Orion, Rochester, Rochester Hills and the townships of Orion, Oakland, Addison, Leonard and Oxford.

Nicholson, who served as chief judge of all four 52nd District courts from 2000-2004 and 2012-2018, launched several programs in 52-3 District Court including a specialty treatment court.

“I’m especially proud to have presided over the Specialty Treatment Court — sometimes called ‘Sobriety Court’ — for two decades,” Nicholson said. “It has been very rewarding to assist and see defendants become productive members of society by attaining and maintaining their sobriety.”

Two programs she instituted focused on youth and making good choices. Court in the School/Critical Life Choices was a program where she traveled twice a month to schools to conduct actual court proceedings in front of students. The program, serving four school districts within 52-3 District Court’s jurisdiction, included an interactive video presentation about consequences for illegal behavior. Have to Choose was a substance abuse prevention program for the high schools within her jurisdiction to educate teens about alcohol and drug issues and making healthy choices.

When not on the bench, Nicholson gave her time to the community. She served on the boards of directors for Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital, The Rainbow Connection, Detroit Zoological Society, and the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

She was an adjunct professor at the Thomas Cooley Law School and was a faculty member for the Michigan Judicial Institute, instructing judges about courtroom and legal issues. She also is a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Women Lawyer’s Bar Association, American Judicial Association, Michigan District Judges Association, and Oakland County District Judges Association.

Prior to becoming a judge, Nicholson, who earned her law degree from the Detroit College of Law, practiced law for 10 years, including as a partner at Potter, Carniak P.C.

Because Nicholson is retiring mid-term, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will appoint her successor.

“Though I will miss serving the Court’s communities as a judge, I am looking forward to doing all the things that retirees do - travel, spend more time with family, and golf, just to name a few,” Nicholson said.

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