Andrea Larkin Retiring as First and Only Woman Judge for East Lansing Court; Governor to Appoint Replacement

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Andrea Larkin was first elected to the 54B District Court bench in November 2012 and oversaw the drug court.

Judge Andrea Larkin will retire from East Lansing’s 54-B District Court effective June 1, 2021. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will appoint a replacement, and then a new election for the seat is expected to take place in November 2022.

Larkin was elected as the first – and still only – woman to serve on the bench of 54-B in 2012 when she won in a race against Mark Meadows, who was later reelected to City Council and the Mayorship of East Lansing. In 2012, Larkin obtained support from 57% of voters, and Meadows 32%. Larkin was reelected in 2018, when she ran unopposed.

Larkin told ELi by email this weekend, “It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as East Lansing’s judge for the past 8.5 years. I’ve been particularly kindled by the achievements of the drug and sobriety courts and hope those life-changing programs continue.” (Read more about the specialty courts from ELi.)

Explaining her decision to retire, Larkin wrote, “I’m 63 years old, and have lost both parents after long illnesses the past two years and now seems like a natural time to transition to the next stage in life. If anything this year has taught me, it’s how fleeting, fragile and meaningful time is.”

Asked for comment, former East Lansing City Clerk and current 54-B Court Administrator Nicole Evans told ELi by email yesterday, “Throughout her tenure, Judge Larkin’s commitment to this court has been unwavering.”

Said Evans, “I personally appreciated Judge Larkin’s ‘go for it!’ attitude when we began offering online dispute resolution services in 2015 for traffic citations, subsequently followed by parking citations, misdemeanor pleas, and warrants. This court is technology-progressive when it comes to improving access to justice for our court users. Having judges who are open to new technology became imperative as the court navigates its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Larkin has been serving on the 54-B District Court bench alongside Judge Richard Ball. The Michigan Supreme Court choses which judge will serve as Chief Judge in each district court, and Larkin has been chosen for and serving in that role with Ball’s support.

Together, Larkin and Ball opposed a recent move to consolidate the local district courts, pushing back at then-Mayor Meadows in a drama that took some unusual turns.

Ball told ELi by email, “Judge Larkin’s service has been characterized by her patient, even-handed, fair and impartial administration of justice. I think I can speak for the entire court staff when I say she will be missed.”

According to Larkin, the Governor’s office is actively in the process of choosing her replacement.

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