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Judge Marylin E. Atkins

Marylin E. Atkins was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Saginaw.  She graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Saginaw and earned a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Saginaw Valley State University in 1973.  She and her family moved to Detroit in 1974 where she worked as the Assistant to the Director of Labor Relations for the Michigan Employment Security Commission.  She enrolled in law school at the University of Detroit School of Law in 1976 and graduated with a Juris Doctor Degree in December 1979.  She was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in June 1980.  


In August 1980 she began working at the Legislative Service Bureau.  After eight months she became an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan in the Workers’ Compensation Division and held that position until August 1983.

In September 1983, she was appointed to the Worker’s Compensation Appeal Board by former Governor James Blanchard.  In October 1985 the Governor appointed her Chairperson of the Board.  Her appointment as Chairperson marked the first time a woman or an African American headed the Board in its fifty year history.  She held that position until May 1991. 

In June 1991, she was appointed as Magistrate in the 36th District Court in Detroit.  A lifelong Democrat, she was appointed a judge in that Court in March 1994 by former Governor John Engler.  The Michigan Supreme Court appointed her Chief Judge of the 36th District Court effective January 1, 2000.  She was reappointed in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.  She was the longest serving Chief Judge of the 36th District Court. 

Chief Judge Atkins is a member of the State Bar of Michigan; Association of Black Judges of Michigan; Wolverine Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association and Michigan Council of Chief Judges.

She is a life member of the NAACP; Advisory Board Member for Benjamin E. Mays Male Academy; former Board Member of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency of Greater Detroit Area; former Chairperson of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus and Detroit Urban League.

Chief Judge Atkins works extensively with Detroit youth in schools and churches.  She is frequently a guest speaker at youth rallies.  She has dedicated herself to helping young people avoid crime and she encourages them to be all that they can be because they are our future.


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