Caryn VanderHeuvel

Running for 72nd District Court Judge



Fort Gratiot resident and candidate for the 72nd District Court bench Caryn VanderHeuvel recently filed with the State of Michigan nominating petitions containing more than 850 signatures.

This is VanderHeuvel’s next step in securing a position on the ballot seeking the bench presiding over the 72nd District Court in St. Clair County. Candidates seeking the bench, who are not incumbent, need to file a minimum of 650 valid signatures of registered voters.

“Thank you to all who signed petitions for me, and most especially to all of my supporters who circulated petitions for me,” said VanderHeuvel. “This is especially meaningful to me because, in spite of social distancing, my supporters worked hard to put me on the ballot in November.”

The incumbent judge on the 72nd District Court bench was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in March, 2020 following the December, 2019 retirement of former 72nd District Judge Cynthia Platzer. Platzer’s term was scheduled to end on December 31, 2020.

“I believe it is important for voters to choose the right judge for their community,” said VanderHeuvel. “I believe I am the candidate who would bring common sense and compassion to the bench.”

Since 2010, VanderHeuvel has served as a Friend of Court Attorney Referee and has served as witness to the many ways children, families, and the community are impacted by a wide range of issues that are addressed by the St. Clair County courts.

“Many issues we see in Friend of Court are the same issues that come before the 72nd District Court,” said VanderHeuvel. “Substance abuse, domestic violence, and housing issues are the issues routinely impacting the families and communities in St Clair County.

“What I have done over the past nine years is make decisions for the families in our community, and that is what a judge does” she said. “Becoming a District Court judge is another opportunity to use the skill set I have developed.”

Prior to serving with Friend of Court, VanderHeuvel worked for 11 years as a research attorney and law clerk for the Hon. Peter Deegan in St. Clair County 31st Circuit Court. In that role, she reviewed legal briefs, researched case law and wrote opinions for the court to review.

“Based on my career and experiences, I have a comprehensive understanding of courtroom proceedings in District, Circuit and Probate court, and have developed the demeanor to provide county residents with a fair, efficient and effective court.”

A practicing attorney for 22 years, VanderHeuvel – who has lived in St. Clair County most of her life – will bring well-rounded experience to the District Court.

A 1997 honors graduate of the University of Detroit School of Law, VanderHeuvel attended St. Clair County Community College for two years, and later received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Michigan.  She was an elementary school educator while she attended law school.  She is also a 1987 graduate of Port Huron Northern High School.

VanderHeuvel is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the St. Clair County Bar Association.

Community involvement is not new to the candidate. She currently serves as a board member for the United Way of St. Clair County; is a former board member of the St. Clair County Bar Association; is a board member of the Port Huron Northern Sports Boosters; served as a coach with AYSO and Math Olympiad; has served as a PTA officer, board member, and volunteer; as a troop leader for the Girl Scouts; and formerly served as a catechist at St. Mary’s Parish in Port Huron.

She has also served as a volunteer for a number of community organizations, including March of Dimes, Port Huron Hospital Foundation, the St. Clair County Child Abuse and Neglect Council, and the YMCA.

VanderHeuvel and her husband of 28 years, Mark, are the parents of five children. They reside in Fort Gratiot.

Additional information can be found at

Submitted by Caryn VanderHeuval for District Judge