Mercedes Watts

Circuit Court Judge, 20th Circuit

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It’s time that the people who decide the fates of people in my community look like someone in my community. I am the first African American to run for Judge in Ottawa County, Michigan. I have a history of breaking barriers and challenging the status quo. I am also a fearless defender of the underprivileged, the underserved and the underrepresented. My decision to practice the challenging field of Family Law stems from my personal experience being raised by a single mother who faced numerous obstacles.

As a public defender, I am motivated to disrupt the “prosecutor to bench” pipeline. To date, all but two judges that have held the title “Judge” have been prosecutors. I have identified potential conflicts of interest in this tendency. Prosecutors rely heavily on suggestions from law enforcement, a connection that can be problematic for some communities where relationships with law enforcement are strained.

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