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Kent County judge Smolenski announces retirement

Judge Sara Smolenski at GVSU in 2015
Grand Valley State University
Judge Sara Smolenski at GVSU in 2015

After more than three decades on the bench, Judge Sara Smolenski is retiring. Governor Whitmer will appoint a successor to fill the vacancy

“You kind of get a feel for when the time is right and that’s what’s come upon me.”

A 34-year veteran of the bench with a distinguished legal career and a lifetime of public service, Kent County 63rd District Court Judge Sara J Smolenski will retire effective July 15, 2024.

“Between my dad and my brother and I, there’s been a Smolenski on the district court bench since the inception of the Michigan District Court in 1968, so for 56 years, there’s been a Smolenski.”

Before following her father and brother to the bench, Smolenski worked as an attorney for Smith Haughey (hoy), Rice and Roegge(row-gee), and as an Assistant City Attorney for Grand Rapids.

She’s served on many boards and organizations but says she most treasures the connections she’s made with people in the community as she’s worked on what she calls “the front line.”

“I am proud of the letters I’ve received over the years where they went through a very difficult time but they took a moment to say thank you for listening to them.”

In accordance with the Michigan Constitution, Governor Whitmer will appoint a successor to fill the vacancy.

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