► Update: Public viewing is Tuesday, August 24, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 W. McNichols St. Interment in Elwood Cemetery follows private funeral.
Detroit Judge Karen Fort Hood, who became the first black woman to chair the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, died Sunday from a brief, undisclosed illness. She was 68 years old.
Hood, a state court appeals judge since 2003, was elected by the commission last December for a two-year term. In 2017, she joined the unpaid panel of judges, lawyers and people from other professions.
She remained a judge while chairing the commission, which deals with allegations of judicial misconduct.
Adolph Mongo, who campaigned for the Michigan Court of Appeals for the first time almost 20 years ago, said: “She was brilliant, a great judge and a person of the community. She loved her job and she was fair and honest in doing so. I was sad to hear of his passing. “
Born in Detroit, she received her undergraduate degree in 1980 from Regents College at the State University of New York at Albany and her law degree in 1989 from Detroit College of Law.
She was assistant to the Wayne County District Attorney before being elected to the Detroit Recorder Bench in 1992. In January 1999, she became President of the Criminal Division of the Wayne County Circuit Court. And in 2002, Hood became the first black woman to sit on the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Wayne County District Attorney Kym Worthy called her “a very good long-time friend.”
“She was one of a kind,” she said. “We have been Deputy Prosecutors, Recorder’s Court judges and Wayne County Circuit Court judges together. We were also sisters of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. We had a common history and her loss will be profound. She was never afraid. to tell you about yourself and speak the truth to power. My condolences go out to her family and friends. She will be missed by justice, the community and me. “
In an interview with Deadline Detroit in December after being elected president of the Judicial Tenture Commission, she said, “No matter who you judge, you want to be fair and impartial.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted:
“Justice Hood treated each of the parties and the litigants who presented her with respect and dignity, and I will always remember her kindness and compassion from my own experiences countless times before her.”
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