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About Chris

I have always been motivated to improve systems for the people and communities counting on them. I am running for 54B District Court to ensure justice, fair treatment, and opportunity for everyone who appears before our Court. I look forward to getting to know you in the coming weeks and earning your vote!

I grew up in Texas and went to college at the University of Texas at Austin. After college, I worked as a Congressional Aide in the United States House of Representatives (Rep. Lloyd Doggett) and as a teacher in New York City Public Schools (P.S. 242, Harlem).

After four years as a teacher, I went to law school at the University of Virginia. In law school, I was active in clinical programs in underserved areas, I participated in the public interest law program, and I was elected student body president by my peers. Most importantly, I met my wife, Laura Tortorelli when we were both graduate students at U.Va. Laura and I came to East Lansing when Laura joined the faculty of the MSU College of Education.

I worked as a court-appointed public defender early in my legal career and later joined the Abood Law Firm in East Lansing. These roles allowed me to help my clients navigate the legal system to reach productive outcomes, usually while they were experiencing difficult personal circumstances. I have experience with both civil and criminal cases. I also used my position to help my clients secure resources or treatment for underlying mental health issues, substance use disorders, or financial troubles often connected to their legal problems.

I joined the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office in 2015. I am in the courtroom almost every day representing the State of Michigan. I seek out hard cases—everything from domestic violence and elder exploitation, to complex drug trafficking and gun violence. I enjoy thinking on my feet in court and the intellectual challenges of the law.

In addition to traditional courtroom advocacy, I have worked for policy changes favoring services and treatment over the cycle of incarceration and probation for lower-level offenses. I have found that these types of interventions are especially effective at the District Court level and offenses involving young people. I have worked closely with Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon to shift the focus of the majority of drug possession prosecutions away from incarceration and toward treatment, services, and improved health outcomes.

In 2018, I was elected to the East Lansing Public Schools Board of Education. I currently serve as Vice President of the School Board. In my tenure on the School Board, we have rebuilt six elementary school buildings, modernized our curriculum, and brought the District into our strongest financial position in recent history. Most importantly, we have been leaders in responding to Covid-19. Despite great challenges, we have worked tirelessly to continue delivering high quality instruction and meeting the needs of all our students while providing the best health and safety measures available.

My family loves calling East Lansing home. Laura and I have two children who keep us busy, we regularly volunteer in the community, and we are active members of All Saints Episcopal Church in East Lansing. If you entrust me to serve as your next Judge, I believe my priorities, experience, and balanced perspective will ensure that 54B District Court reflects the needs and values of our community, while upholding the law in a just and equitable manner.

Photo of Chris Martin