Recently, Eaton County District court Judge Julie O’Neill sat for a Q&A to discuss her journey of becoming a District court Judge.
Judge O’Neil expounded upon her inspiration for wanting to become a judge and how it was not the path she expected herself to go down.
Judge O’Neil also spoke about her personal experiences growing up on a farm and also shared how she balances her emotions in the courtroom.
Spartan Newsroom reporter Anthony Brinsonn III spoke more with Judge O’Neil
Anthony Brinson III: What inspired you to pursue the judicial system and become a judge? Was it always something you wanted to do?
Judge O’Neil: “Well, that’s a big question. I graduated from Michigan State with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a specialty in Juvenile delinquency and after that I worked as a youth specialist for four years.”
“So… I started going to Law School at nights, on the weekends and around this time I also had my first two children and then when I graduated from law school I was a practicing attorney for about 14 years.”
“I practiced throughout the state of Michigan and the last seven years of my practice I was on the Federal Public defender panel, so I was doing work in the federal courts, going to Grand Rapids as well. So, I had pretty good practice on a state and federal level.”
Anthony Brinson III: What was your reaction to finding out the Judge before you (Judge “Hoffman”) was stepping down after what she said was 24 or 25 years?
Judge O’Neil: “When that news came out, myself and a whole bunch of other attorneys were like, ‘what? Oh my gosh, what does this mean?’ He announced his retirement kind of last minute and I couldn’t have imagined him not being in that seat.”
“After that, we all started talking about who was going to run for the position and what was going to happen.