Judge Hugh B. Clarke, Jr., is a graduate from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. He went on to attend and graduate from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School receiving his Juris Doctorate. During his legal career, Judge Clarke served two years as a Special Consultant (1977-1979) to the State Senate Committee on Judiciary and two years as the Associate General Counsel for the State Senate (1979-1981).
After leaving state government, Judge Clarke spent over thirty years in the private practice of law, handling criminal, civil, probate and family law matters. He brings to the bench a varied and wide range of experience in various areas of the law. He has served on various State Bar of Michigan Committees, including the Committee on Standard Criminal Jury Instructions, Character and Fitness Committee and the Criminal Law Section Council. In addition to memberships with the State Bar of Michigan including the Master Lawyers Section, a Fellow with the Michigan State Bar Foundation and the Ingham County Bar Association, he has held memberships in the Davis-Dunnings Bar Association, Association of Black Judges of Michigan, American Judges Association as well as the Michigan District Judges Association where he previously served as Treasurer.
He has a broad base of community service including serving seven years on the Lansing Board of Education. During his tenure on the school board he served as Vice President, President of the board as well as chairperson of the Superintendent Search Committee. Judge Clarke has served on the Board of Directors of numerous community and civil organizations, and is a Member of the National Advisory Board for "The History Makers." Judge Clarke is a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church where he serves as a licensed Lay Eucharistic Minister. Judge Clarke has received numerous awards from various organizations recognizing his commitment to the Lansing community including proclamations from the Mayor of Lansing, the Lansing City Council, the Michigan Legislature and the Office of the Governor of the State of Michigan. Judge Clarke has received a United States Letter of Tribute from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and a Special Tribute from the United States Congress (sponsored by U.S. Representative Mike Rogers). His biography and interview has been preserved with the Library of Congress.
Judge Clarke has been the recipient of the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award from the Central Michigan Heritage Enterprise, Community Hero Award from the Eastside Community Action Center, the Community Champion Award from the Tabernacle of David Worship Center, E Patterson Community Award from the United Auto Workers Loca 652 and various other organizations.
Judge Clarke was appointed to the 54A District Court in December of 2010 by former governor Jennifer Granholm. He was elected in November 2012 to serve the balance of that term.
Judge Clarke and his wife reside in Lansing and have a son currently attending Michigan State University.