(IRON MOUNTAIN,MI.)–With the support and encouragement of current and former local judges, law enforcement personnel and a wide cross section of bi-partisan community leaders, Judge Christopher S. Ninomiya has announced that he will be seeking an appointment from Governor Rick Snyder to serve as a judge in the 41st Circuit Court. The seat is being vacated by the Hon. Richard J. Celello, who recently announced that he will be retiring. In response to the announcement, all local judges sitting in Dickinson and Iron counties endorsed Judge Ninomiya for the position. Current Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Celello stated, “Having served many years on the bench, I know from experience what it takes to be a strong, impartial and effective jurist. I believe that Judge Ninomiya possesses those requisite qualities and would be a tremendous asset to the 41st Circuit Court if appointed by the Governor. ” The Chief Judge of the Menominee and Dickinson County Circuit Courts, Mary B. Barglind, further indicated, “As the Chief Circuit Court Judge, I was excited to learn that Judge Ninomiya will be seeking this appointment and running for election. He has exceptional experience and a proven track record of fair, thoughtful and impartial decision making.” Judge Thomas D. Slagle, Chief Judge of the Dickinson County Probate Court added, ” Ninomiya has proven himself a capable prosecutor and judge over the last 25 years. He has earned the respect of his peers and the public who he serves. He is the logical and deserving choice to serve as the next 41st Circuit Court Judge.” Judge Ninomiya was first elected to the district court bench in 2008, and was re-elected in 2014. As the Chief District Court Judge, Ninomiya has capably handled a substantial caseload involving a significant volume of felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, and a large variety of civil cases. He has also worked in the capacity of a circuit court judge by special assignment on numerous occasions. During his tenure on the bench, he has consistently exceeded the state standards for district courts. Ninomiya has continued to run the Dickinson County Sobriety Court, which is a recognized specialty treatment court program. The program was successfully established by his predecessor, Judge Michael J. Kusz. Â In 2014, Judge Ninomiya developed the highly regarded Veteran’s Treatment Court program in cooperation with the Veterans Administration Hospital. This program was developed specifically to help serve area veterans that are struggling with alcohol, substance abuse, and other service-related issues. In addition, Ninomiya procured grant funding to help offset the cost of implementing that program. In 2014, Judge Ninomiya was elected by judges from across the Upper Peninsula as an officer to the Upper Penninsula Judge’s Association, which represents district, circuit, and family court judges across the U.P. He has also been appointed by the State Bar of Michigan to serve on the Judicial Ethics Committee and the Access to Justice Policy Committee.