Judge Shelia R. Johnson was elected in November 2002 and is the first African American to serve as Judge in the 46th District Court. In November 2014, she was re-elected for an unopposed third term. Judge Johnson was also selected as a 2012 Democratic nominee for candidacy for Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Prior to assuming the bench, Judge Johnson was an attorney with over 18 years of legal experience in both State and Federal Courts. Judge Johnson was in private practice in Southfield where she specialized in both civil and criminal litigation.
Among her many community and civic affiliations are: the Southern Oakland Chapter of the NAACP, where she served as an Executive Committee member; founding member, Southfield Community Foundation Women’s Fund; First-Vice President, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc.; and founding member, the National Congress of Black Women. Additionally, she is a member of Hope United Methodist Church where she has served as vice-chair and chair of the “Church and Society Ministry.” She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Southfield Alumnae Chapter. Judge Johnson believes mentoring youth is of paramount importance and she has established a “Court in Schools” Program, where court sessions are held at local schools with the goal of deterring youth from criminal behavior and inspiring them toward positive career choices. She also works as a “Community Partner” with Southfield Schools.
Judge Johnson is the recipient of numerous professional and community service awards, including the 2014 “Justice Award” from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc.; 2013 “Women of Excellence” Award from the Michigan Chronicle Newspaper; 2013 “Trailblazer Award” from the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association; 2013 “Wings of Justice Award” from the Oakland County Democratic Party; 2005 Phenomenal Woman “Torch Award” for outstanding legal leadership and community service by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Southfield Alumnae Chapter; 2006 “Member of the Year Award” from the Southern Oakland County NAACP for her work as chair of the “Health Committee”; 2008 “Powerful Woman of Purpose Award” in the Legal Profession from the Rhonda Walker Foundation; and the 2009 “Mattie Belle Davis Award” from the National Association of Women Judges. She has also been recognized in Who’s Who Publishing Company’s volume of “Black Judges in America.”
Judge Johnson is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Michigan District Judges Association, Oakland County District Judges Association, Association of Black Judges of Michigan, D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, Wolverine Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Black Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and the National Bar Association. She currently serves as Vice-President of the Michigan District Judges Association (MDJA) and is the former editor of the MDJA newsletter, “Benchmarks.” She also serves as Financial Secretary of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association. She has also served as a member of the Equal Access Initiative of the Committee on Justice Initiatives of the State Bar of Michigan. Judge Johnson is also a former President of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan and former Vice President of Publications and Board Member of the National Association of Women Judges, where she was editor of the national newsletter “Counterbalance.”
Judge Johnson served as a law clerk to the Honorable Benjamin F. Gibson, United States District Court, Western District of Michigan. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School, where she was the first African American elected President of the Law School Senate and delivered the commencement address to her graduating class. She has been a resident of Southfield for 29 years.
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