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Thursday, December 2, 2021

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    Judge Karen Fort Hood, known for career of firsts, dies at 68

    Judge Karen Fort Hood was a trailblazer with impressive firsts on her resume, said Michigan Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, but “what was first in her mind was being fair and impartial.”

    Hood, the first Black woman elected to the state Court of Appeals and later the first Black woman to chair the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, died Sunday night, according to the Appeals Court’s chief judge, Christopher Murray.

    “It is difficult to imagine this world — and our court — without Karen’s laugh, smile, and warm heart,” Murray said. “Judge Hood was, quite simply, a wonderful colleague and true professional who will be greatly missed by all here at the Court of Appeals.”

    Hood was 68. Details of her death were not immediately available.

    Hood was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2002 and had overseen the Judicial Tenure Commission since December. She had been the Appeals Court’s representative on the commission, which investigates complaints of ethics violations and judicial misconduct involving judges, since 2017.

    A Detroit native, Hood was a Detroit Public Schools teacher and a probation officer before becoming an attorney. She obtained her law degree in 1989 from the Detroit College of Law after earning an undergraduate degree at Regents College of the University of the State of New York at Albany.

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