Like all government offices, the courts must be fully transparent with all members of the public. If elected, Arianne is committed to helping usher in the proper data systems to identify and address disparities in the system, promote efficiency, and ensure equal access to court related services for everyone in our community. In Michigan’s Joint Task for Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, data sparked bipartisan support for reforms in 2021. Unfortunately, this data was not consistently available nor was it easy to obtain. Arianne supports a state-wide centralized information sharing system that not only connects every court in Michigan but provides data and resources for the community in real time. Data will help identify access issues for marginalized community members, racial disparities, and proper funding allocations within the courts. Without the data, future reforms could stall without an accurate assessment of the court’s daily operations, successes, and shortcomings.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN THE COURTROOM
The principles of restorative justice center around repairing harm to the community by rebuilding relationships, fostering authentic conversations, and promoting the concept of crime being against a victim, instead of “the state.” Arianne is a leader in restorative justice practices in Washtenaw County. Arianne has modified the management of the City of Ann Arbor prosecutions to implement restorative practices that promote the victim and offender’s healing, offender accountability, and prevention care for the offender, removing the practice of requiring punitive punishment. Arianne is committed to the spread of restorative justice in Washtenaw County. She will continue to work with our local judges, defense lawyers, and prosecutors to bring parties together in the name of community healing, when all parties and victims desire conferencing. Arianne also supports post-judgment restorative practices, where the community, the offender and the victim’s emotional healing is most often needed. Arianne believes that restorative practices can be extremely helpful but should not be used in every case. An imbalance of power between the parties, the lack of voluntary participation, and prevailing concerns of revisiting trauma are all valid reasons to not use restorative practices within the criminal and civil systems. If elected, Arianne’s practical and academic knowledge, and her willingness to continue to develop relationships with the expert practitioners of restorative justice would make her the judge our community can trust to implement the proper approach in every case.
CIVIL JUSTICE REFORM
The civil/criminal division of the Trial court is the 22nd Circuit Court of Washtenaw County. Generally, this division handles all civil cases involving more than $25,000, as well as felony criminal matters. In the criminal division, it is rare for an individual not to have representation by an attorney, either retained or appointed. Access to legal counsel in the civil division is not as consistent, which must be changed. Courtrooms are not welcoming; the forms can be confusing, and it requires the use of an entire book to explain the rules on how to appear before the court. Arianne supports the initiative called “Justice for All”, which helps open the doors of the courthouse and makes the experience accessible for all our residents and visitors. To help take the frustration out of getting one’s issue resolved, the current Justice for All Task Force is working to identify gaps and barriers to navigating the court system here in Michigan. The use of zoom court and live-streaming courtrooms have created new opportunities for many but have been true barriers for others. Arianne is committed to finding the appropriate balance so that everyone has 100% access to the court system and resources.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
As a leading criminal justice reformer, Arianne understands how reforming the way individuals interact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system can and will change our community for the better. Arianne has been a member of our many treatment courts in Washtenaw County, including Sobriety Court, Mental Health Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and formerly Women’s treatment court specializing in supporting those who have been victims of human trafficking. Arianne has, and will continue to work as a partner with prosecutors and defenders alike to alleviate the stain of wrongful convictions, giving justice to those discriminated against by the system. In 2018, Arianne started our County’s first criminal diversion program for adults located in the City of Ann Arbor. This program focuses on rehabilitation and addresses the root causes of one’s justice involvement with supportive programming. Since then, Arianne has also started a criminal deflection program and ushered in a criminal expungement program hosted in the City of Ann Arbor. If elected, Arianne would bring compassion, integrity, and wisdom to the bench. Arianne’s understanding and adherence to the Crime Victim’s Rights Act, and compassion for all those she comes into contact with have made her a true asset to our community.
RESPONSIBLE COURT ADMINISTRATION
Our courts represent a large recipient of taxpayer dollars in Washtenaw County, and as with any government body they must be responsibly administered. Arianne is committed to a criminal justice system which directs resources towards rehabilitation rather than punishment, and will work with other judges and County Commissioners to make this plan a reality. Furthermore, we have a unique opportunity to make our courthouses more environmentally-sustainable through the implementation of clean energy (solar panels), more bike parking, better access to public transit, and many other programs. Arianne is committed to helping our courts do their part to protect our environment for future generations through responsible, environmentally-conscious administration. As a new employee to the City of Ann Arbor, Arianne ushered in an entirely paper-free criminal division of the City Attorney’s Office. We also know that courts are historically un-welcoming. Arianne will continue to support the most accessible entrances, gender-neutral bathrooms, and signage in multiple languages. These efforts will help to make our courts more accessible and inviting to all members of the Washtenaw County community.