Oakland County Bar Association honors Judge James Brady

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published June 22, 2016

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Judge James Brady, of the 47th District Court, does not like to boast. 

Even after the Oakland County Bar Association recently honored Brady as the 2016 Distinguished Public Servant Award winner, he downplayed the prestigious win in his office at the courthouse June 14.

“It’s an honor, no doubt about it. There are a lot of judges and other public servants that the Oakland County Bar Association deals with,” Brady said, adding that his involvement in a number of groups and organizations helped to put him on the map. “It is a nice thing to be nominated — I didn’t know there was such an award.” 

 Brady, who was presented with the award at the OCBA’s annual meeting at the Centerpoint Marriott Hotel June 2, was also recognized by OCBA President David Carl Anderson, who mentioned Brady’s contributions to the community and to the OCBA, according to a press release.

Some of his contributions include his leadership in organizing the 2016 Bench/Bar Conference, his participation on the OCBA District Court Case Evaluation Committee, his recent tenure as president of the Oakland County District Judges Association, and his statewide leadership as part of the State Court Administrative Office’s Ability to Pay workgroup, according to the press release. The Ability to Pay workgroup helps determine who is truly able or unable to pay court-related fines and fees.

“There is a push for more accountability for judges in determining a defendant’s ability to pay for their fines and costs,” Brady said. “It has come to the attention of certain people that there were judges in the state, not only here in Michigan, that they were putting people in jail simply because they couldn’t pay for fines and costs. The Supreme Court said long ago that you can’t put people in jail unless they are given a thorough examination of their ability to pay.”

 Randall Secontine, principal attorney at the law office of J. Randall Secontine, nominated Brady and wrote in his nomination that Brady does not limit his community involvement to law-related activities. 

“His long-term record of selfless civil engagement confirms that he makes himself a part of the solution in making our community the best that it can truly be. Lastly, it must be said that Judge Brady is an undisputed credit to the legal profession. In a day and age of bombastic personalities and unsettling judicial temperament, Judge Brady remains the model of insightful logic, appropriate demeanor and deliberate, fact-based legal analysis.”

Brady has been with the 47th District Court as judge since 2003; prior to his election, he served as magistrate from 1985 through 2002, according to fhgov.com. He is currently serving his fourth two-year term as the court’s chief judge — a responsibility rotated every two years with Judge Marla Parker.

Brady, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, has his degrees hung on a wall in a row behind his desk — where he also keeps his new OCBA award.

Brady formerly served as an assistant prosecutor for Oakland County from 1980 to 1984 and subsequently worked at a private law practice from 1984 to 2002, according to the press release.

Brady has been a resident of Farmington Hills for more than 20 years with his wife and three children.

In the community, Brady has held many positions, from coaching youth hockey and baseball to participating in the Exchange Club and the Optimist Club, according to the press release.

“It seems like in the last couple of years I just haven’t had the ability to say no when people ask me to do stuff,” he said lightly. “There is just all those kinds of things in addition to being a judge ... kind of come to this crescendo, of sorts. I’m kind of amazed.”

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