Experienced. Equal Justice. Independent.

Meet Mary Beth Kelly

Mary Beth Kelly brings nearly twenty years of judicial experience to her bid for election once again to serve on the Wayne County Circuit Court for the citizens of Wayne County. She served in the Wayne County Circuit Court from 1999-2010, and then in 2010 was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in an election in which she received the most votes statewide. Since January, 2018, at the request of the chief judges and by appointment of the Supreme Court, she has served as a Visiting Judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court, primarily clearing a backlog of cases in the Family Division.

Read more

Meet Mary Beth Kelly

Mary Beth Kelly brings nearly twenty years of judicial experience to her bid for election once again to serve on the Wayne County Circuit Court for the citizens of Wayne County. She served in the Wayne County Circuit Court from 1999-2010, and then in 2010 was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in an election in which she received the most votes statewide. Since January, 2018, at the request of the chief judges and by appointment of the Supreme Court, she has served as a Visiting Judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court, primarily clearing a backlog of cases in the Family Division.

Read more

Mary Beth Kelly was recently featured on the Paul W. Smith Show.
Listen below or click the button to download.

Paul W. Smith Show

Mary Beth Kelly brings nearly twenty years of judicial experience to her bid for election once again to serve on the Wayne County Circuit Court for the citizens of Wayne County. She served in the Wayne County Circuit Court from 1999-2010, and then in 2010 was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in an election in which she received the most votes statewide. Since January, 2018, at the request of the chief judges and by appointment of the Supreme Court, she has served as a Visiting Judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court, primarily clearing a backlog of cases in the Family Division.

Prior to becoming a judge, Mary Beth Kelly worked in the private practice of law. She joined the law firm Dickinson Wright in 1987 and became a partner at the firm, where her work focused on commercial litigation.In the Wayne County Circuit Court, she served as Presiding Judge of the Family Division, then was appointed for three terms as Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court. Mary Beth Kelly remains the only woman in history to serve as Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court. As Chief Judge, she doubled the size of the Family Division, led efforts to improve the racial diversity of the jury system, revised attorney assignment procedures to comply with ABA standards, and initiated significant improvements to the Wayne County Friend of the Court, including implementation of the call center.

Mary Beth Kelly has served as chairperson of numerous statewide committees, primarily focused on child welfare and family matters. In 2015, Governor Rick Snyder appointed her as chair of the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice, where she championed issues of diversion, juvenile mental health courts and Raise the Age legislation, among other important issues facing our youth. She also served as co-chair of the Michigan Race Coalition, which examined the need for juvenile justice and foster care to improve policies and racial disparities through the use of meaningful data.

In addition, She also worked in private practice at Bodman PLC, where she served as the vice-chair of the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice group. In addition to now serving as a Wayne County Circuit Court Visiting Judge, Mary Beth currently serves as a mediator and arbitrator at JAMS (Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services), a national ADR provider, in its Detroit office.

An avid runner, Mary Beth is also the proud parent of a 2020 Kalamazoo College Student, a four time Varsity Cross Country runner, who will pursue his graduate studies at Boston University this Fall.


J.D.,1987, Notre Dame Law School. Managing Editor, Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy, 1986-87. Thomas J. White Center on Law and Government Scholar, 1986-87.

A.B., University of Michigan Dearborn. Political Science and History majors, with distinction. Student Government Representative, 1984. Washington Internship Program, 1983-84. Awarded Alumni of the Year, 2015.

Mary Beth Kelly was appointed to the Wayne County Circuit Court in 1999 and elected to that court thereafter in 2000, 2002 and 2008. In 2010, she was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court with the most votes of all candidates statewide. She has served as a Visiting Judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court since January 2018 at the request of the Chief Judges and by appointment of the Supreme Court.

While serving on the Michigan Supreme Court, Justice Mary Beth Kelly authored the following notable opinions:

In Stand Up for Democracy v. Secretary of State, she authored the lead opinion which allowed a referendum of the Emergency Financial Manager law to appear on the ballot.

In People v. Kolanek, she authored a unanimous opinion that was the first Supreme Court opinion to interpret the medical marijuana law.

Her majority opinion in People v. Likine held that a defendant's inability to pay child support is not a defense to failure to pay child support, although the common-law defense of impossibility to pay still applied to that crime.

Her dissenting opinion in People v. Carp would have applied retroactively the constitutional requirement that juvenile offenders must receive an individualized sentencing determination that considers the offender's youth, personal characteristics, and circumstances of the crime before being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Awards

Wolverine Bar Association Extremely Well Qualified

The Wolverine Bar Asssociation has issued the rating of "Extremely Well Qualified" to Mary Beth Kelly. This is the highest attainable rating and indicates that the candidate has outstanding legal ability and background and wide experience, wisdom, intellect, insight and impartiality.

View Letter
Top Women Lawyer Award 2020

Mary Beth Kelly has been selected as one of the Top 10 Women Business Lawyers in Michigan as indicated by Leading Lawyers Magazine. Selections are by Peer Recognition.

Mary Beth Kelly has been rated as “Outstanding” by the Detroit Bar Association Judicial Candidate Evaluation process. “Outstanding” is the highest possible rating. The Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee has four categories of ratings: Outstanding, Well Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified or No Rating.


In the News


Upcoming Events

Campaign Fundraiser

As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to be monitored, our October 8th gathering shall be subject to health concerns and restrictions/recommendations on public assemblies. Please visit our website info@marybethkellyforjudge.com for updates.

Download Ticket