Governor Whitmer appointments Judge Christopher P. Yates to the Court of Appeals

LANSING — On March 16, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointments of Christopher P. Yates to the Court of Appeals - District 3, Tony Flores to the 54A District Court of the City of Lansing, and Robert K. Gaecke, Jr. to the 12th District Court of Jackson County. 

Yates is currently a judge with the 17th Circuit Court of Kent County. He has been with the circuit court since 2008 where he presides over a specialized business docket and has previously handled civil, criminal, and family dockets. 

Previously, Judge Yates was a partner with Yates, LaGrand & Denenfeld, PLLC and Willey, Chamberlain & Yates, LLP. 

He has also served as the chief defender for the Federal Public Defender’s Office, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and as an attorney and advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice.  

Judge Yates began his law career as a law clerk to Chief U.S. District Judge James Churchill and to U.S. Appellate Judge Ralph Guy.   

Judge Yates earned his JD and MBA from the University of Illinois and Bachelor of Arts degree from Kalamazoo College.  

He is the current president of the Michigan Judges Association, vice president of the American College of Business Court Judges, a member and former president of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and an appointed council member of the judicial section of the State Bar of Michigan. 

Judge Yates is a long-time resident of Grand Rapids where he lives with his wife, Janice, and their twin daughters.  

This appointment was made to fill a partial term, which will commence on April 18, 2022 and expire at twelve o’clock noon on January 1, 2023, after Judge Jane M. Beckering was appointed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan effective December 24, 2021. 

If Judge Yates wishes to serve the remainder of Judge Beckering’s term, expiring January 1, 2025, he would be required to run for reelection in November of 2022.