Attorney facing assault charge and family court referee seeking Muskegon County judge position

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – A family court referee and a local attorney facing a misdemeanor domestic violence charge are running in the November election to become a circuit judge in Muskegon County.

The open position on the 14th Circuit Court is due to the retirement of long-time Judge William C. Marietti.

Seeking to replace Marietti are Jenny L. McNeill, an attorney and family court referee for the 14th Circuit, and Jason Kolkema, an attorney who has been charged with allegedly assaulting a woman he was dating in a downtown Muskegon apartment on Aug. 18. Kolkema has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a trial on Nov. 21-22.

The nonpartisan position is for six years.

McNeill and Kolkema were the top two vote-getters in the Aug. 2 primary, beating out Brandon Davis and Kendrah Robinson for the right to face off in the Nov. 8 general elections.

Related: Muskegon judicial candidate headed to trial for domestic assault

Kolkema is a Muskegon area native and graduated from Fruitport High School, Michigan State University and the law school at University of Detroit-Mercy. He has been an attorney for 25 years, handling circuit court criminal and civil cases.

He previously represented municipalities and community mental health authorities for a Lansing municipal defense law firm. He also previously worked as a due process hearing officer for the Michigan Department of Education.

McNeill has been a Muskegon family court referee for four years and an attorney for 25 years. She began her career as a legal aid attorney.

She’s involved in numerous local organizations and serves as treasurer of Legal Aid of Western Michigan, vice president of the Muskegon Family Care Board of Directors and assistant director of the Michigan Irish Music Festival.

MLive/Muskegon Chronicle partnered with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Michigan

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