Former judge launches campaign for prosecutor of Oakland County


On May 28, former family court judge Karen McDonald announced her campaign for Oakland County prosecutor. McDonald, who has returned to private practice since stepping down from the bench, is running as a Democrat against incumbent prosecutor Jessica Cooper.

McDonald is a veteran advocate and litigator with more than 20 years of professional experience. As an assistant prosecutor prosecuting child sexual assault in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, McDonald maintained a 100 percent conviction rate. After transitioning to private practice, she continued representing families and children for nine years.

“Oakland County needs a new prosecutor who will lead us to a stronger, safer community,” McDonald said. “We need to treat all members of the community with respect. We need to make sure the prosecutor’s office will listen to and protect victims of crimes. We need to change the system to accommodate the underlying drug addiction and mental health issues with treatment courts, and we need to hold youth accountable without unnecessary incarceration.”

In her launch video, McDonald says, “We need to keep our communities safe, while being smart on crime.”

“My experience gives me an exceptional perspective to understand and address the issues facing our county now and in the future. As Oakland County Prosecutor, I will work with Governor Whitmer, Attorney General Nessel, our courts, and my fellow county prosecutors to enact common sense criminal justice reform and develop successful reentry policies,” McDonald said.

McDonald holds a B.A. from Alma College and graduated cum laude from Wayne State University Law School. After working as a research attorney for the Court of Appeals, McDonald joined the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office in 1999. McDonald then began a career as a family law attorney at Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss P.C., where she remained until she was elected circuit court judge in 2012, handling cases of divorce, custody, child abuse and neglect, and juvenile delinquency.

As a judge, McDonald received both the Oakland County Domestic Violence Prevention Award and the Joan E. Young Champion of the Children Award. A committed civil servant, McDonald was a member of the Foster Care Review Board Program Advisory Committee, DHHS Human Trafficking Protocol Revision Committee, and the Oakland County Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force as a judge. She now practices family and civil law at her private practice, McDonald Law Firm, PLLC.

Under Michigan law, judges must step down from the bench one year prior to filing deadlines for partisan office.