Judge Jessica Hammon grew up in Burton and is a graduate of Atherton High School, UM-Flint and Ave Maria Law School. After law school and an internship in the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office, Hammon went to work for Justice Marylin Kelly of the Michigan Supreme Court.
In private law practice for 15 years, Hammon was appointed to the bench by Governor Whitmer in 2020, and elected later that year to preside over the 67th District Court in Burton. Before taking the bench, she practiced in both the Family Drug Court and Adolescent Recovery Court, and had specialized in criminal, abuse & neglect, family and civil law, as well as representing indigent mothers in Child Welfare cases.
One of Judge Hammon’s long-stated goals for the court and the community is the continued implementation of specialty courts. She oversees Sobriety Court, which serves those who have had alcohol-related offenses and present a need for comprehensive services.
A past president of the Genesee County Bar Association (2018-19), Hammon has also served as a mediator at the Genesee County Community Resolution Center and was named the Eastern Michigan Pro-Bono Lawyer of the Year, as well as being on the Pro-Bono Honor Roll of the State Bar of Michigan.
Judge Hammon currently lives in Burton with her husband Elliot and four cats … but there’s much more we don’t know about her. Read on!
1. What was your very first job?
When I was 16, I worked at a little coffee shop in Burton. We also had an ice cream bar, so it was always such a fun place to work – whether people came in for coffee or ice cream, they were generally happy! The owner was an extremely compassionate person and taught me that you can be kind in the business world and still be successful. The idea that business people need to be cut-throat is misguided; I’ve carried that with me throughout my career.
2. Who inspired your career path most?
When I was little, my father used to tell me he thought I’d be a judge someday. I’m not sure if he has the gift of foresight or just was trying to use the power of suggestion;
but he knows me well, that’s for sure. He and my mother were always supportive of whatever career path I chose, and they taught me that no matter what, I should value integrity and honesty above all things.
3. How would your friends describe you?
As far as professionally, I’m sure they would describe me as a very motivated person and a rule-follower. I don’t really believe in doing things halfway. As a person, though, I’m positive they would describe me as a huge goofball. I find the silliest things funny and once you get me laughing it’s hard for me to stop. We all need to remember to not take ourselves so seriously all the time – it’s okay to laugh and have fun.
4. If you had a Warning label, what would it say?
“WARNING: Whether it’s a dog or a crocodile, if there’s an animal around, she will try to pet it!”
5. What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
I love to be at home with my husband and our kitties. We have four rescue cats, one with only three legs. So, giving them the attention and love they deserve always makes for a great day. Oh, and I’m a huge “Harry Potter” fan. My husband recently got me to play this “Hogwarts Legacy” game and I just love it. So I suppose right now, a little time on my game would be included in my perfect day, LOL! Never thought I’d be a gamer!
6. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Well, this question was made for me. If you know me, you know I’m a pretty big “foodie.” I love to cook and try new things. I’ll try anything once, and I really mean anything! We are blessed here in Genesee County to have some truly wonderful restaurants. However, even with all of the food adventures I’ve had (and I’ve had quite a few), if I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life it would probably be mac & cheese – like, the boxed kind. I am, after all, just a girl from Burton and nothing says comfort food to me like a bowl of orange-cheesy goodness.
7. What is the best thing about your career?
Hands down, it’s that I get to help people. I’m a strong believer in using our system for rehabilitation more than punishment. So many people who come before me, even if it’s for a criminal matter, just need help. If I can give someone the services they need to not offend again, then I feel I’ve truly made a difference in this world. As the judge who oversees our Genesee County Sobriety Court, I get the opportunity to do this on an in-depth basis with our participants. I’ve had no better feeling in my career than seeing someone graduate our program with two years of sobriety under their belt and a new lease on life. It is so rewarding seeing people rise above.