- Elected by Court of Appeals Judges
- Member since June 1, 2017
- Current term expires December 31, 2021
In November 2002, Judge Karen Fort Hood made history as the first African American woman ever to be elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals. A former Detroit Public School teacher and probation officer, Judge Hood was elected to the Recorder’s Court Bench in 1992. In January 1999, she became Presiding Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court, Criminal Division. As Presiding Judge, she handled administrative duties relative to the court, including the adjournment of cases, disqualification of judges, discipline of attorneys, and resolution of conflicts between the thirty-one judges of the Criminal Division. In addition, Judge Hood presided over the entire domestic violence docket for the Wayne County Circuit Court. Judge Hood also carried a docket of other criminal cases.
Before being elected to the bench, Judge Hood was a Special Assistant Prosecutor in Wayne County Juvenile Court. She served from 1984 through 1988, and prosecuted juvenile offender and abuse and neglect cases. From 1989 through 1992 she transferred to the Appellate Division of the Prosecutor’s Office where she researched, wrote and argued hundreds of briefs and other appellate matters. She was appointed as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, in 1988, and served until 1992, when she took the bench.
Judge Hood is also very active in the community. Judge Hood is Past President of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan and is a member of the Wolverine Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Judges Association. She is a lifetime member of the Detroit NAACP. Judge Hood is currently the Commission's Secretary.