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Election for Board of Commissioners—District H Candidate Biographies

Matthew Abel

Matthew Abel, a lawyer since 1986, is in solo practice, concentrating his criminal defense work in the area of marijuana defense, including issues regarding medical marijuana and whether the controlled substances act has any rational basis. In the Representative Assembly, Abel successfully introduced resolutions creating a State Bar of Michigan policy supporting public financing of judicial elections, and mandating that the bar hold a public forum for Michigan Supreme Court candidates each campaign season. Abel unsuccessfully advanced a proposal to remove the assignment of counsel authority from judges. Abel sits on the Green Party of Michigan State Central Committee and also on the Green Party of the U.S. National Committee. He is active in the Lawyer’s Guild, ACLU, and NORML. Last year, he successfully defended an anti-Bush war protester who was arrested for exercising first amendment rights. This year, Greater Flint ACLU recognized him as a Civil Libertarian of the Year 2006.

W. Anthony Jenkins

Mr. Jenkins is a two-term incumbent member of the Board of Commissioners, and serves on the Executive and Finance Committees. He is a past president of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, a member of the State Bar Fellows Society, and Michigan’s State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Mr. Jenkins serves or has served on several civic and charitable boards, including the Detroit Medical Center, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the City of Detroit Elected Officials Compensation Commission, and the City of Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. Mr. Jenkins is a partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC, where he serves on the Board of Governors and represents clients in the automotive, real estate, and retail industries, and writes and lectures on the formation and capitalization of joint ventures, particularly minority business enterprises. Mr. Jenkins holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law. He is licensed to practice in Michigan and the District of Columbia.

Incumbent: Eligible for 17 meetings (from 9/12/2003 through 4/7/2006); attended 16 and excused 1.


Stephen M. Taratuta

Stephen M. Taratuta has been practicing law since 1991. He worked while still in law school at the University of Detroit in the Urban Law Clinic. He received the William O. Douglas Award for his work in the clinic. Upon graduation and passage of the bar exam, he went into private practice as a solo practitioner. The primary focus of his practice was criminal litigation, with a minor emphasis in construction law representing home owners and businesses against wayward contractors. In the spring of 2004, Mr. Taratuta joined the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office as a senior trial attorney. He is currently assigned to the Homicide unit. Mr. Taratuta has been a member of the Representative Assembly for eight years. He is also an active member of the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee. Besides his commitments with the State Bar, he remains active in local bar activities. He is an immediate past member of the Board of Directors for the Government Bar Association and currently sits on the by-laws committee. When not “working,” Mr. Taratuta spends time with his wife, Jody, and his daughter, Brittany. He helps out at his daughter’s high school as the Quartermaster for the Shrine High School’s Dad’s Club.



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State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
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