What's Under the Robe: Chief Judge Richard Caretti, Macomb County Circuit Court

Richard Caretti spent 23 years in private practice before becoming a member of the bench in Macomb County. He recently began serving as chief judge of the Macomb County 16th Circuit Court in 2008, where he leads 15 judges in the courts family, probate and civil/criminal divisions. Three months into his new role, Caretti proposed a meeting with the chief judges of Oakland and Wayne counties, and on March 12, judges Caretti, Potts and Giovan met for the first Tri-County Chief Judges Conference.

A member of several local bar associations and chambers of commerce, Caretti is enthusiastic about opportunities that lie head. He recently helped us get a better sense of who he is, both on and off the bench.

If you werent an attorney/judge, what would you be?
Chief of Police.

What would attorneys be most surprised to know about you?
That deep down, I really am a nice guy.

What are your pet peeves in your courtroom?
Punctuality and preparation.

What groups or organizations do you belong to?
Michigan Judges Association, Macomb County Bar Association, Michigan State University Alumni Association, Detroit Athletic Club, Italian American Bar Association, Federalist Society.

What advice would you give a new attorney about courtroom etiquette?
Be punctual, be prepared, be civil, and dont interrupt the judge.

Were you elected or appointed?
Appointed in 2002; elected in 2004.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
Bowling, golfing, weight-lifting, softball and racquetball.

Favorite law-related TV show or movie?
The Verdict.

What is the last book you read?
Scalia Dissents.

How many years have you been on the bench? How long have you been chief judge?
Five years (on the bench), four months (chief judge).

Who is your hero?
My father.

Who isor wasyour mentor?
With respect to my judicial career, Pat Donofrio.

Please list your degrees and schools attended, including bachelors degree and law degree.
Wayne State University, Bachelor of Arts 1975,
Detroit College of Law - Juris Doctor Magna Cum Laude 1980

What is your favorite movie?
The Godfather.

What is your favorite food?
Veal parmesan and pasta.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Villa Penna.

Please describe your background prior to taking the bench.
While serving as a Detroit police officer, I attended night school and obtained my B.A. and J.D. degrees. After graduating from law school, I was an associate and senior partner with Dickinson Wright for 16 years. I then served as a founding partner of the firm of Strobl, Cunningham, Caretti and Sharp for seven years. My practice involved complex commercial and personal injury litigation.

What is your idea of a perfect day off?
After getting up and having a nice breakfast on a vacation day, a perfect day would include getting in a workout then a round of golf and then a nice dinner with my lovely wife.

What else would you like attorneys to know about you or about practicing in your courtroom?
I have a recurring theme of preparedness and punctuality. Practicing those two virtues serves one well in my courtroom. Turning off your cell phone also helps.

Last but not least: What is the most unusual outfit you have worn under your robe?
A mock turtleneck instead of a shirt and tie on one occasion.

For more information about Judge Caretti, visit www.macombcountymi.gov/circuitcourt /JudgeCarettiBiography.htm

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