Judge Bios

Hon. Monte J. Burmeister, Chief Probate
& District Court Judge

Monte J. Burmeister received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Science-Law & Democracy from James Madison College, Michigan State University. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University.

Judge Burmeister engaged in general civil and criminal practice for 12 years, the latter seven of which involved successfully operating his own solo firm. He is a graduate of the Trial Lawyers College and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Judge Burmeister was elected to the Bench in 2007.

Presently, Judge Burmeister is the Chief Judge of Probate and District Court for Crawford County. He presides over a variety of cases, including Criminal Misdemeanors and Civil Cases under $25,000.00; Felony Preliminary Examinations; Decedent’s Estates; Child Custody disputes; and Abuse and Neglect of Children cases.

Judge Burmeister is married and has two children.


Hon. Colin G. Hunter, Circuit Judge

Colin G. Hunter was elected to the bench at the November 8, 2016 general election following his successful August 2, 2016 primary election campaign.

Judge Hunter received his undergraduate degree in 2004 from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI and his Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI. While in law school, he served an externship at the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office.

He developed his detail-oriented analysis and passion for the law while serving as a judicial law clerk for the 46th Circuit Court, working for all Judges within the Circuit, including primarily Circuit Judges Janet Allen and Dennis Murphy. Following his work as a law clerk, Judge Hunter worked first at Bloomquist & Associates, PLLC, a general practice law firm in Grayling, MI, and subsequently for the firm of Carey & Jaskowski, PLLC, also in Grayling, where his practice focused on such areas as criminal defense, family law, general civil litigation, real estate and various other general practice areas.

Judge Hunter is a lifelong Grayling resident who thoroughly enjoys Northern Michigan and all that it offers. He is married to his wife, Kim, and has two children. He involves himself in many activities in the great outdoors including such passions as hunting, fishing, shooting and canoe racing. He is also a second generation Judge from Crawford County.


Hon. George J. Mertz, Circuit Judge

George J. Mertz was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Circuit Court bench in January 2013. 

Judge Mertz received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1996 and his Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University in 2001. While in law school he served as a clerk in the Executive Division of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

Judge Mertz began his legal career as a judicial law clerk for the 46th Circuit Court in 2001 and worked primarily for Circuit Court Judges Alton Davis and Dennis Murphy. In 2002 he accepted a position as an Associate Attorney at the Gaylord office of Plunkett & Cooney, P.C. and moved from Grayling to Gaylord with his wife Amy. While at Plunkett & Cooney he practiced insurance defense litigation and also handled general civil matters.

In 2004 he was hired as Assistant General Counsel for the Police Officers Association of Michigan. Based out of his office in Gaylord, his practice included public sector labor law, criminal law, civil litigation, and appellate matters throughout central and northern Michigan.  Judge Mertz also held a position as an adjunct professor at the Gaylord campus of North Central Michigan College, teaching Business Law.

Judge Mertz resides in Gaylord with his wife Amy and their two children.  He and his family are involved in the community and enjoy spending time together participating in the many outdoor activities that northern Michigan provides year round.  His interests include fishing, hunting, golf, skiing, hockey, curling, competing in triathlons and marathons, aviation, woodworking, and music.

Crawford County

200 W. Michigan Ave.
Grayling, MI 49738

Kalkaska County

605 N Birch St.
Kalkaska, MI 49646

Otsego County

225 W. Main Street
Gaylord, MI 49735

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