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Faculty and Administration Profiles
Hon. Cynthia D. Stephens
Title/s: Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals, First District
Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals in 2008, Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens served as a general jurisdiction trial judge for 23 years. Judge Stephens was appointed to the Third Circuit Court in 1985 after service as a 36th District Court Judge. She was the Chief Judge Pro Tempore, Mediation Tribunal Chair, and Presiding Civil Division Judge of the 3rd Circuit Court for 8 years. An Emory Law School graduate, Judge Stephens has been admitted to practice in Georgia, Texas, and Michigan. Prior to her election to the bench in 1981, she served as Vice-Chair of the Wayne County Charter Commission, Associate General Counsel to the Michigan Senate, Regional Director for the National Conference of Black Lawyers-Atlanta office, and consultant to the National League of Cities Veterans Discharge Upgrade Project.
She has been active in bar work including 16 years as a Commissioner of the State Bar of Michigan, chairing its Justice Initiatives Committee, Communications Committee and Children’s Task Force. Judge Stephens is former chair of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, a former member of the Executive Board of the National Bar Association and its Judicial Council. She has been honored by many civic and religious organizations including the inaugural Woodrow Smith Community Service Award from the Shrines of the Black Madonna, the Golden Heritage Award from Little Rock Baptist Church and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the City of Detroit Human Rights Department. She was awarded the State Bar of Michigan’s highest honor, the Roberts P. Hudson Award in 2005.
Judge Stephens has served as adjunct faculty at Wayne State University Law School, the Detroit College of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. She has also served as faculty member for the National Judicial College and the Michigan Judicial Institute and the Emory Law School Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques. She was a contributing author to the Lawyer's Co-Operatives “Michigan Nonstandard Jury Instructions” as well as numerous articles on subjects ranging from jury selection to ethics.
She has served on numerous civic boards and commissions including New Detroit, the Inner City Business Improvement Forum, the Detroit Metropolitan Association Board of Trustees for the United Church of Christ, the Greater Detroit Area Health Care Council and the Girl Scouts. She is a resident of Detroit.
BA, University of Michigan, 1971
JD, Emory University, 1976