Christopher M. Murray
- What has been your most memorable case (in practice and/or as a judge)?
Wayne County v Hathcock, as I wrote a concurring opinion pointing out the deficiencies in the Supreme Court’s Poletown case (eminent domain). The Supreme Court granted leave and reversed Poletown.
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Fishing – anytime, anywhere!
- Who was the most influential person in your life/profession?
My stepfather. A lawyer for over 50 years, who always treated the practice of law as a profession.
- What’s the most unusual thing in your desk drawer?
- What has been the most difficult decision you have had to make as a judge?
Probably a change of domicile motion when I was in the trial court, as it was one good parent attempting to move the high-school age child across the country, and away from another good parent. It is tough making those family decisions for others.
- Do you have a pet peeve when on the bench?
Not really, but I do prefer that attorneys get to the major points of their case during oral argument.
- What advice would you give to litigants before you?
Prepare a good brief – briefs are what win a case on appeal.
- Do you have any advice for new lawyers or law students?
Work hard, get involved with bar associations, and treat others like you want to be treated.
- Football, Hockey, Baseball or Basketball (or other)?
Hockey, since I had to choose. Love all sports.
- What is your favorite music?
- How would you finish this sentence: “If I was no longer on the bench I would be…?”
. . . very sad.
- What law school did you attend? Did you “enjoy” the experience and can you share your fondest memory?
University of Detroit and I loved it! Fondest memories are starting the Federalist Society chapter, playing on the hockey team, and the debates in constitutional law.
- Before becoming a judge where did you practice?
Keller Thoma, then in Detroit.
- Did you have any mentors as you gained experience in the law and practice?
Terry Miglio, Bob Lusk and Lucille Taylor.
- How old where you when you had the worst hair cut ever and what style was it?
Currently (52), it has never really changed (just gray now).
- What was the hardest part of transitioning from law practice to being a judge?
Nothing, it was all wonderful!
- Do you take an active role in assisting parties in settlement discussions? Do you prefer independent facilitation/mediation?
- If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
A bison in Wyoming or Montana. Protected animal living in the most beautiful part of our nation.
- Do you prefer attorneys to remain at the lectern in trials if they are speaking or questioning?
I did when I was a trial court judge. And at the Court of Appeals, it is mandatory!
- Without embarrassing anyone, do you have a memorable courtroom gaffe of yours or an attorney you can share?
When I was a new trial court judge in the family division, the parties left the courtroom and a fracas started in the hallway. I was so mad and frustrated – so much so that I left the bench to head out into the hallway. Fortunately, my secretary and bailiff stopped me!