Young: It's time 'to take on the next chapter'


Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. announced his retirement Wednesday during a meeting with fellow justices of the court.

His retirement will be effective April 30 or earlier as he winds up his affairs on the bench, according to a press release from the court.

Young, 65, is returning to his former law firm of Dickinson Wright.

“After more than 20 years in the judiciary, with 18 on the Supreme Court, I have decided that it’s time for me to take on the next chapter of my career,” he said.

Chief Justice Stephen Markman said he and Young had served together on the court for more than two decades “and there is no justice who has brought a greater intellect, work ethic, and conscientious commitment to his judicial responsibilities than Bob Young.”

“He has left an extraordinary legacy with regard to the work of the court and the operation of a fair and responsible justice system in Michigan,” Markman said.

In particular, Markman said, Young’s time as chief justice “has been of lasting significance in rendering the judiciary of our state leaner, more efficient and accountable, and better focused upon serving ‘we the  people’ of Michigan.  His impact in furthering the equal rule of law in Michigan will be felt for many years to come.”

  Young said he was proud of what he accomplished, especially during his tenure as chief justice.

“At the time I joined the court, it was marked by acrimony,” Young was quoted as saying in the news release. “When I became chief justice, we proved that good people who may differ in their opinions can come together and accomplish important things for the people we serve — and we do it amicably,” Young said. Young served three years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and 18 on the Michigan Supreme Court, including six years as chief justice.

During that time, Young said the court focused on improving service to the public by measuring performance, streamlining processes, and utilizing technology to cut costs and better serve people. It was also a time of eliminating wasteful bureaucracy, he said, and even reducing the number of judges throughout the state where there was declining workload.

“I will be returning to the firm that opened its arms to me 30 years ago,” Young said.

He said he would be “forever grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Michigan, but I’ve always believed that sometimes you just know when it’s time to move on to another challenge.”

Young highlighted what he described as “some simple, but very important things were accomplished by making the public our first priority.”

Young said those included:

• Reducing the size of the judiciary to fit its declining workload, achieving a savings to taxpayers thus far of more than $15 million.

• Imposing performance standards on every judge and every court in order to improve our services.

• Surveying the public who visit the courts. He said the surveys have shown a consistently high level of satisfaction.

• Expanding the number of “problem solving” courts to address specific issues facing veterans and those having problems with alcohol and drugs. The results, Young said, show reduced return offenders and an increased rate of employment for those involved in court programs.

• Using technology to permit online traffic ticket review and virtual prisoner transports, a development Young said has significantly reduced costs and increased efficiency.
• Introducing online legal help systems to provide assistance to those who do not have lawyers.

“Government doesn’t have to be broken and it doesn’t have to be toxic,” Young said. “I believe we showed that in recent years on the Michigan Supreme Court, and I’m extremely proud of the role I played. I also have a deep amount of respect for my fellow Justices and have appreciated their support throughout the years.”

Several justices have left the court prior to the end of their term. In recent years, Maura Corrigan, Conrad Mallett, Elizabeth Weaver, Dennis Archer and Mary Beth Kelly left before their terms were completed.