MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - United States Magistrate Judge Greeley has announced his intention to retire by mid-March this year. After more than 30 years, Greeley says he's proud to have served the court and the people of the Upper Peninsula.
“I feel real good about my career here. I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been rewarding and difficult at times," Greeley commented.
He says his time here was more than he could have asked for. When he first arrived in 1988, there was no U.S. Attorney's office, no grand jury and a limited law enforcement presence in the U.P.
"I got to be part of starting to have an active federal court here in the U.P. Now we have a fully active U.S Attorney’s office, a fully active public defender’s office. This is a fully functioning court now and I am proud to have served the court," Greeley exclaimed.
Raised in Kalamazoo, Greeley attended Western Michigan University and Wayne State University. He then worked for a federal judge in Detroit. He also worked for several years at a large law firm in Lansing.
Greeley moved to the U.P. in the late 1980s with his wife and three young kids. He says at the time, he was the youngest federal judge in the Country.
"When I came up here I didn't have much experience in criminal matters. And within six months of getting the job there was a mass murder committed here in the U.P. That was a real eye opener for me.”
Since then, Judge Greeley has handled countless drug cases and, numerous domestic violence and assault cases, some involving children.
However says he's also seen his share of happy moments in the courtroom.
"Naturalization ceremonies are clearly one of the most enjoyable things. It's when the people who come into this courtroom all lave happy. That doesn't happen very often. Usually someone leaves here unhappy. Someone feels like they've lost something or their freedom has been taken away. Naturalizations are a great experience for all of us," Greeley reckoned.
His successor, Maarten Vermaat has been an assistant U.S attorney here for 15 years. And while Vermaat is fully capable of handling the issues that affect the U.P. his duties will not come without challenges.
“Methamphetamine is a huge problem here. Maarten Vermaat who is my successor has a great deal of experience in those cases. He knows the problem and understands the process very well. I feel very comfortable knowing that he'll be able to move forward in this job and do what needs to be done,” Greeley asserted.
As for Judge Greeley, he says he intends to do some traveling among other things.
“I plan to get more involved in community activities that I haven’t been able to be involved in in the past. I'd like to do a little bit more charitable work and see how I can give back to this community,” Greeley concluded.