U.P. judge appointed to Child Abuse Task Force

Judge Chris Ninomiya serves the 41st Circuit Court in Dickinson, Iron, and Menominee Counties
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - A U.P. judge is taking on a bigger role to help prevent child abuse across Michigan.

In Chris Ninomiya’s 41st Circuit Courtroom, crimes involving minors are seen consistently. Of his nearly 100 active cases, he estimates at least five are about child abuse and sexual exploitation.

“Unfortunately, as a prosecutor and a judge, I have had to deal with a lot of cases involving child abuse and neglect and sexual exploitation of individuals,” said Judge Chris Ninomiya, 41st Circuit Court.

Governor Whitmer appointed judge Ninomiya to the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Task Force two weeks ago. Ninomiya has worked in Dickinson County since graduating from law school in 1993.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to represent not only judges from the U.P. but from judges across the state. I was honored and privileged to be named by Governor Whitmer,” Ninomiya said.

He joins other judges, prosecutors, mental health professionals, and victim advocates from across Michigan. The goal is to collaborate with Governor Whitmer on how to prevent and prosecute child abuse offenders.

“I think almost 30 years of experience has been pushed to the forefront and will help me in this position to make recommendations to the governor and assist the task force in our duties,” Ninomiya said.

Ninomiya says working with a diverse group will maximize its impact.

“You have a lot of different perspectives that are coming to the table that are trying to explore better alternatives, better ways of doing business, better ways of working within the criminal justice system and the civil justice system to make sure tragedies are prevented,” Ninomiya said.

The prosecutor-turned judge will still hear cases in the 41st Circuit Court, which covers Dickinson, Iron, and Menominee Counties.

Ninomiya will meet with the task force for the first time in May. He will serve the current term until December 2023. After that, he may be re-appointed by the Governor.

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