|Michigan Third District Court of Appeals Judge|
| Assumed office|
| Term ends|
January 1, 2017
Joel Hoekstra is a judge on the Michigan Third District Court of Appeals. He was elected to this position in 1994. He was re-elected on November 2, 2010 to a 6-year term ending on January 1, 2017.
- Main article: Michigan judicial elections, 2010
Judge Hoekstra graduated from Calvin College with a bachelor's degree. He then received his law degree from Valparaiso University. 
Prior to serving on the Appeals Court, Judge Hoekstra worked as an assistant Kent County prosecuting attorney, as a district court judge, and as an adjunct faculty member of Calvin College.
Political affiliation and campaign contributions
RMGN court proposal
Reform Michigan Government Now's (RMGN) proposal to reduce the Michigan Court of Appeals from 28 to 21 judges, based on term expiration dates, would have shifted the court's political power from the Republicans to the Democrats. Had it passed, the court's political makeup would have changed from the current 16 Republican judges and 12 Democratic judges to 10 Republican judges and 11 Democratic judges--thereby eliminating six Republican judges and one Democratic judge. The judges that were targeted by the Reform Michigan Government Now proposal were as follows: Pat Donofrio, Joel Hoekstra, Donald Owens, David Sawyer, William Whitbeck, Kurtis Wilder, and Helene White--the only Democrat affected by these removals.
Court rejects same-sex benefits
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Michigan Constitution in regards to health benefits to partners of same-sex couples. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, public sector employees were eligible for those benefits. According to the Detroit News, the unanimous ruling by Judges Kurtis Wilder, Joel Hoekstra and Brian Zahra struck down an earlier ruling by an Ingham County court judge in a case brought by National Pride at Work Inc. against the city of Kalamazoo. The court ruled "such arrangements violate a constitutional amendment that state voters approved in 2004 that bars public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose." Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project in New York City, said if the ruling is upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court, "Michigan will be the first state to remove health-care benefits from same-sex spouses as a result of such an amendment."
Woman wins 5-year battle to see file
At 15, while suffering from a mental illness, "FG" found out that she was pregnant. She sought a judicial bypass from a Washtenaw County Probate Court judge to get an abortion without informing or getting her parents' permission. Years after the abortion, "FG" formally requested her court file--she wanted to learn "whether she actually agreed to the judicial bypass and the abortion, and whether any of her rights had been violated. Because of her medical condition, FG had only a vague memory of what had taken place during the probate court proceeding. In a November 23, 2004 opinion written by Judge E. Thomas Fitzgerald, and joined by Judge Joel Hoekstra, the Court reversed the Washtenaw County Probate Judge's decision to deny her request. Judge Jessica Cooper dissented.
- Judge Hoekstra's Bio Page
- Freedom of Information Act Decision
- Campaign Contributions and the Michigan Court of Appeals
- Michigan court: No same-sex benefits
- Washington Post: No Same-Sex Benefits
- Appeals court rules vulgarity law unconstitutional
- American Family Association of Michigan
- Appeals Court affirms Kevorkian's murder conviction
- Michigan Medical Law
- Dolan Media
- World Socialist Website
- Cussing canoeist's conviction thrown out, along with 105-year-old law
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Third District Judges: Biography of Judge Hoekstra
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Michigan 2010 Unofficial General Election Results
- ↑ Michigan Constitution, Article VI, Section 23
- ↑ Michigan 2010 candidate list
- ↑ Follow the Money: Joel Hoekstra
- ↑ Democrats will take over on Michigan Court of Appeals
- ↑ The Detroit News
- ↑ Woman wins 5-Year Legal Battle To See Court File on Abortion
Cateogory:Successful Michigan judicial candidates, 2010