Chupa named to 37th District Court bench

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published December 19, 2013

WARREN — Warren attorney Michael C. Chupa’s morning began with a call from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Dec. 18.

Chupa’s next call was to his wife, sharing word of the governor’s decision to appoint him to the bench of the 37th District Court. 

“My feet haven’t touched the ground yet,” Chupa said just a few hours after he learned of the appointment. “It’s a chance of a lifetime and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to serve.”

Chupa, 45, will serve the remainder of the term vacated by Judge Jennifer Faunce, who left the 37th District Court in July after Snyder appointed her to the bench of Michigan’s 16th Circuit Court in Mount Clemens. The term will end in 12 months, and Chupa will be required to run for a full six-year term in 2016.

“My family’s been a part of Warren since the 1950s. Now it’s my turn to do something good for the community,” Chupa said.

The appointment was Snyder’s second at the 37th District Court in the last two years. In 2012, the governor appointed Judge Dean Ausilio to replace Judge Dawnn Gruenburg, who left to serve a federal post with the Social Security Administration.

“Michael is an experienced and successful law professional, and is active in his community,” Snyder said in a release announcing the appointment. “I am confident he will represent the people of Warren and Center Line very well as judge.”

Chief Judge John Chmura of the 37th District Court applauded the appointment and said Chupa knows the court well, having worked there many years as a prosecutor for the city and as an attorney in private practice.

“Great appointment. He knows this court as well as anybody,” Chmura said. “He knows the procedures, knows how we do things, and he’s going to fit in very, very nicely.”

Chupa began practicing law for the city of Warren in June 1991. His sister, Jennifer Chupa, later joined him in the private law practice he founded in 1995. Their father, the late Michael William Chupa, was a leader of the local Ukrainian community who served four, four-year terms on the Warren City Council before he passed away in October 2009.

“I like to think that he’s sitting on my shoulder, smiling away,” Chupa said of his father.

In addition to the work through his practice, Chupa also served as a volunteer attorney for the 41-B District Court’s drug court program. He said the drug court is important to him and would like to see it continue to succeed in Warren. Ausilio now oversees the program at the 37th District Court.

Chupa received a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and a law degree from the Detroit College of Law.