Attorneys vie for retiring judge’s seat in Taylor

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — General election voters will have fewer choices with two local attorneys seeking to fill the 23rd District Court bench seat of retiring Judge William J. Sutherland.

Joseph Slaven, 43, and Warren Waterman, 56, won a hotly-contested August primary runoff against three other candidates: Aaron Speck, Kathleen Tulacz and John Gyorgy.

Sutherland will end a long judicial career that includes having his name — along with Judge Anthony Nicita — on the “Nicita and Sutherland” courthouse where he served since being one of the city’s first two municipal attorneys in 1980.

Both candidates bring a wealth of legal education and experience to the contest.

Slaven 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. He has authored several books on the law and teaches prospective lawyers how to study for the bar exam.

Waterman has been practicing law for nearly 30 years, and has served as 23rd District Court magistrate since being appointed by Sutherland in 2007. Waterman received his undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University and also graduated from the University of Miami.

Slaven and Waterman attracted near-equal voter support in August, respectively garnering 1,562 and 1,496 votes during the runoff.

(James Mitchell can be reached at