DEARBORN — The 2012 elections are expected to have a big impact both locally and nationally, and one of the most competitive races on the horizon could be the one for Wayne County Circuit Court as up to three spots for judges are expected to be open.
|The married father of three girls ran for Dearborn 19th District Court Judge 2006 and was also recently nominated to be a magistrate in Dearborn by Chief Judge Richard Wygonik. The final step is approval by the Dearborn City Council on February 7, Harb said.|
Harb, who works out of the Adel Harb, Attorney at Law office on Michigan Avenue in the city, said he believes his experience will serve the county by bringing important perspectives to the bench.
“I've always found that judges who've been in private practice tend to be the most understanding really of all,” he said. “They understand what the attorneys have to go through and what the clients have to go through.”
Harb calls himself a public defender who has handled all types of cases and is ready to take the next step in his law career.
“If you're a private practitioner, you have to do a lot of the work yourself...It's hard to go from academia or a larger firm to being a judge I feel, but I've been doing cases for 21 years and I feel like I'm already prepared to take on this position.”
Harb has begun relying on his supporters to collect signatures for the May 1 deadline to appear on the November ballot. He said that going door-to-door in order to obtain them is more difficult for a county-wide race, but things are going smoothly so far.
Harb is especially well known in Dearborn , where he currently handles mainly family law and criminal cases out of his office as well as some civil cases.
The married father of three girls ran for Dearborn 19th District Court Judge 2006 and was also recently nominated to be a magistrate in Dearborn by Chief Judge Richard Wygonik. The final step is approval by the Dearborn City Council on February 7, Harb said.
Harb believes that working the position would give him even more hands-on experience in the legal system that would benefit him should he be elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court.
“It really would be nice experience to get hopefully prior to ultimately becoming a circuit court judge,” he said.
“I also believe it would be great for the city of Dearborn to have another circuit court judge who lives in the city right now.”
Harb was born and raised in Beirut before coming to America and settling in Kalamazoo at the age of 12. He went to Western Michigan University for his undergrad degrees in Political Science and Economics before graduating from the Thomas M. Cooley law school in the Michigan state capital city of Lansing in 1990.
His legal career kicked off with time at the Kalamamazoo County Prosecutor's Office where he worked as an intern before graduating law school, and he then continued it with a stint for Circuit Court Judge Beverly Nettles Nickerson.
Harb then moved to Dearborn in the early 90's and opened up a private practice that has put down roots in the city; he also later served for about five years in Dearborn as a court-appointed attorney representing indigent defendants through the city.
He hopes to follow a path similar to current judge Charlene Elder, who started out as a magistrate in Dearborn, and also attorney Sam Salamey, who served as chief magistrate in Dearborn from 1997 until 2006 and is considering a judge to be judge in the 19th District Court.
Harb is enjoying the process so far.
“Dearborn is very important and that's where my base is, but the goal is to gain support outside of Dearborn also, you go outside to build your base even more,” he said.
“From Grosse Pointe to Detroit to Canton, Plymouth and downriver, the county is so unique and diverse so you really have got to touch a lot of different areas.”