Two set to vie for Taylor judge seat in November

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — Two local attorneys will face off in November’s general election to fill the 23rd District Court bench seat of retiring Judge William J. Sutherland.

Five candidates ran in yesterday’s primary election, and the top two vote getters — Joseph D. Slaven with 1,562 votes (31 percent) and Warren D. Watterman with 1,496 (29 percent) — will compete to succeed Sutherland.

Aaron T. Speck posted a close third place finish with 1,139 votes (22 percent), followed by Kathleen A. Tulacz (559 votes) and John A Gyorgy (275).

Sutherland, whose name joins Judge Anthony Nicita on the “Nicita and Southerland” courthouse, was one of the city’s first two municipal attorneys when appointed in 1980. Earlier this year Sutherland announced his intention to retire after a lengthy judicial and civic career that dates back to his helping draft the city’s charter in 1968.

Slaven and Watterman bring diverse backgrounds to their candidacies.

Slaven, 43, is an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and has served as clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Donald Scheer.

Watterman, 56, has been practicing law for nearly 30 years and has served as 23rd District Court magistrate for seven years.

Last week’s primary election held few items of local interest for city residents, and less than 14 percent — 5,994 — of the city’s 44,498 registered voters cast ballots.

(James Mitchell can be reached at