EDITOR’S NOTE: The Boyne City Gazette will continue to cover candidates as they file for the race leading up to the August primary contest
Mary Beth Kur of Charlevoix has announced her candidacy for the position of Charlevoix County 33rd Circuit Judge.
Kur, who has practiced law in Michigan’s circuit courts for nearly 23 years, seeks the judgeship currently held by Richard M. Pajtas, who is set to retire.
“The importance of this position to our county motivates me to seek public office again after a rewarding 10 years in the private sector,” said Kur. “Serving the public is an important part of my life, and I believe in giving back to my community. Throughout my 23-year legal career, I’ve seen the court system from a variety of vantage points, which gives me a unique perspective, and will serve me well as a judge.”
She added, “I want Charlevoix County to have a judge who is hard working, smart, no nonsense, ethical and fair to all.”
The primary election in the race—in which Roy C. Hayes III has also announced candidacy—will be held Tuesday Aug. 5
Kur was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1991.
She spent the first 13 years of her legal career in prosecution, serving as the Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney from 1995 to 2004.
Since 2005, she has been in private practice.
Her practice has focused primarily on family law and criminal defense.
Kur resides in Charlevoix with her husband Vince Left, a Beaver Island native who grew up in Charlevoix.
Kur received her Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law.
She is admitted to practice in all Michigan courts and the Federal District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan.
She is a member of the Emmet-Charlevoix Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan and is a certified domestic relations mediator in the Emmet and Charlevoix Circuit Courts.
She has appeared in numerous divorce cases involving children and litigated many complex criminal cases including homicide, narcotics and sexual assault cases.
“I have been a voice for crime victims, and I have been a voice for those accused of crimes,” Kur said. “I have handled dozens of child abuse and neglect cases as well as over 100 juvenile delinquency cases. I have handled all types of guardianship cases and dozens of personal protection order cases. I have also volunteered my services to victims of domestic violence.”
She added, “All of this experience I gained in the circuit court over the years as a lawyer makes me uniquely qualified to serve the citizens of Charlevoix County as their circuit judge.”
She was also appointed by the Governor of the State of Michigan in 2003 to serve on Michigan’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
The Governor also appointed her to the Executive Clemency Advisory Council in 2007.
She was appointed by the Michigan Attorney General as a Special Assistant Attorney General to prosecute people throughout northern Michigan who were delinquent in their child support payments.
She is a past member of the Board of Directors for Northern Community Mediation, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the Charlevoix Lion’s Club, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan Board of Directors, the Northern Michigan Child Abuse Council Board of the Directors, the Straights Area Narcotics Enforcement Team Board of Directors and a past member of the Human Services Coordinating Body of Emmet & Charlevoix Counties.
Mary Beth Kur is endorsed by four judges on the Michigan Court of Appeals including Judge Christopher Murray.
“I am quite confident that Mary Beth has the intelligence, intellect and high-level of professionalism that is necessary to properly serve as a judge of this state,” Murray said.
Other judges who have endorsed Kur include Judge Amy Ronayne Kraus, Judge William Whitbeck and Judge Michael Riordan.
“I believe that Mary Beth’s extensive trial experience makes her an excellent choice for circuit court judge,” said Riordan. “She has practiced in circuit court for her entire 23-year career. She has 13 years of prosecutorial experience. She has worked as a defense lawyer in Charlevoix and Emmet counties for the past 10 years and she has done civil work as well.”
He added, “She also has the respect of her peers and the local judiciary in Northern Michigan. I know her to be respectful, approachable and honest.”
Kur said she would like to explore establishing a sobriety court for offenders in circuit court and would like to implement electronic filing to improve the efficiency of the Court.
“Sobriety Courts have a proven record in this state and across the nation; they enhance offender accountability and save tax dollars at the same time,” said Kur.
Kur said she would also like to establish an interactive website to better assist the lawyers and the public and involved with the court.
“Our current Judge, Richard M. Pajtas, has established and maintained extremely high standards in the operation of our court during his tenure,” Kur said. “I would be honored to follow him and feel confident in my abilities to maintain those high standards.”
She added, “I have worked with and have great respect for several other people I know are interested in this position. Our campaign will focus on those qualities we feel make me the best person for this very important job. Speaking for everyone involved in my campaign, I can safely say that we, along with most of the people we know, have grown very weary of any sort of personal attacks and negative, hurtful attempts to win elections at all levels.”
Keep up with Kur’s run for the judgeship at www.mbkforjudge.com.
Charlevoix attorney Roy C. Hayes, III, has announced his candidacy for the position of 33rd Circuit Court Judge for Charlevoix County.
The primary election to fill the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of current Charlevoix County Circuit Court Judge Richard M. Pajtas will be held on Tuesday Aug. 5.
“I am humbled by the positive response I have received regarding my candidacy,” said Hayes. “Over the next six months, I look forward to meeting the voters of Charlevoix County and having the opportunity to assure them that they should place their trust in me to serve as their next Circuit Court Judge.”
Hayes grew up in Charlevoix and is a 1986 graduate of Charlevoix High School.
He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1990 and his law degree in 1993 from the Washington & Lee University Law School in Lexington, Virginia. In law school, Hayes spent summers working for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Patricia Boyle, and also for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. assisting federal prosecutors with legal research.
After law school, Hayes worked as a law clerk to Justice William Ray Price of the Missouri Supreme Court.
Hayes returned home to Charlevoix after his judicial clerkship in 1994 to practice law with his father, the late Roy C. Hayes, Jr., former United States Attorney to President Ronald Reagan.
The father-son team practiced law together in Charlevoix for six years before the elder Hayes retired in 2000.
In one of their last cases together, they successfully defended the National Board of Medical Examiners on an Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination claim in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.
Roy C. Hayes, III was lead trial counsel in the case and successfully argued and defended the subsequent appeal on behalf of the Board before the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Over the course of my twenty year career as a trial attorney in Charlevoix,” Hayes said, “I have represented hundreds of clients in divorce and child custody cases, criminal cases ranging from misdemeanor trespassing to ‘capital’ felony charges punishable by up to life in prison, civil litigation involving disputes over money and property rights, appeals, and probate matters involving guardianship and decedent’s estates.”
According to Hayes, has seen firsthand that the subject matter of any dispute which has made its way into the court system is extremely important to those involved.
“People who find themselves in court are often under a lot of stress. They can be vulnerable, and sometimes they are at their worst,” Hayes said. “The role of a fair and impartial judge is crucial to the legitimacy of our system of justice.”
He added, “The public’s respect for, and trust in, the legal system requires that judges not only understand and follow the law without influence from personal bias, but also that judges respect the litigants and listen to what they have to say about the dispute at hand.”
Hayes said that believes he has “unique and varied litigation experience representing clients in the state and federal court systems from Marquette to Detroit.”
He also cites having “successfully taken and defended numerous appeals before the Michigan Court of Appeals.”
However, Hayes indicates much of his experience has been “closer to home, at the Charlevoix County court house.”
He urged voters unfamiliar with him to reach out to Charlevoix County law enforcement or individuals who work in the Charlevoix County Courts for their first hand experiences with him.
Last year, Hayes was appointed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to the position of Public Administrator for Charlevoix County, which requires Hayes to represent the State of Michigan in Charlevoix County probate matters involving deceased individuals without heirs.
Hayes currently owns and operates his own law practice, The Hayes Law Firm, at 209 Bridge St. in Charlevoix.
In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his wife Kendall and his two daughters, Catherine and Sloane.