Attorney Lisa Martin sworn in 2021 – Oath of Office administered by Attorney Andrea Enright on January 1, 2021
NNPA NEWSWIRE — For Martin, the position carries a responsibility to the community. “It’s about a life of service, it’s about being helpful to the community that I live in, that I love, and that has embraced me now for 14 years,” she says. She adds that her role as attorney magistrate gave her ample opportunity to learn the systems of the building and the district, to get to know the people she worked with, and to handle cases that came before the court, preparing her for her present position.
By Renee Summers, Telegram Reporter
ROMULUS, MICHIGAN – Attorney Lisa Martin brought with her more than 20 years’ experience in the legal field when she decided to run for a seat on the 34th District Court. A resident of Van Buren Township, Martin had previously served as attorney magistrate in the judicial district for nearly two years. Martin triumphed over fellow attorney Alexandria Taylor on November 3 to win the judgeship. She assumed the office on January 1, 2021, becoming the first African American elected to serve as Judge of the 34th District Court.
(The 34th District Court has jurisdiction over matters occurring within the cities of Romulus, Belleville, Townships – Huron Township, Sumpter Township, Van Buren Township, and the Detroit Metro Airport.)
For Martin, the position carries a responsibility to the community. “It’s about a life of service, it’s about being helpful to the community that I live in, that I love, and that has embraced me now for 14 years,” she says. She adds that her role as attorney magistrate gave her ample opportunity to learn the systems of the building and the district, to get to know the people she worked with, and to handle cases that came before the court, preparing her for her present position.
When she announced her candidacy for the judge’s seat, a six-year position, Martin says it was a very different type of campaign atmosphere due to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than participating in crowded campaign events and fundraisers, or knocking on doors, Martin was pleasantly surprised to find the community reaching out to her. “The number of individual people who reached out and said, ‘How can I help you?’ was just the most memorable part of the campaign for me,” she recalls. Social media played a large role as community members posted and reposted messages about Martin’s campaign and she wishes to thank the community members who stepped up and supported her campaign efforts.
“It was truly a group effort,” she says, adding that being part of a community means that everyone has a role to play, whether it’s in neighborhood associations or city council meetings. It also includes being a good citizen and engaging with others, she says. “I’ve attended meetings, even before I was elected just because I live here, I want to know what’s going on, how I can be of service, if there’s something I can do to support the efforts of the township, I’ve done it.”
Martin says part of her role as judge will be to provide understanding and empathy to those she sees in her courtroom as well. She says many coming before a judge for the first time may be filled with anxiety or perhaps had been worrying about their case for months prior to arriving in the courtroom. “A good judge has to remember that this is not somebody’s everyday thing,” she says, adding that for many people, being in court is a once in a lifetime experience.
Martin says her time away from the courthouse is spent with family, volunteer activities, and church involvement. She says getting to know people and their concerns helps her to be mindful of the issues people may be bringing into the courtroom with them.
Reflecting on what her legacy will be, she says, “When I get to the end, I hope people find that I did what I said I was going to do in terms of being on time, being prepared, being respectful, and being fair.”
Judge Martin says she has no further ambitions. “I am happy to serve in the community…by living in the midst of these five cities, it keeps you attuned to what’s going on,” she says. “I’m happy right here right now; it’s where I want to be, it’s where I asked people to put me, and unless something extraordinary happens, this is where I’d like to spend the balance of my legal career.”