Juvenile Court Judge

Duties & Organization

Judge Dan H. Michael was elected judge of the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County in August 2014. As Judge, he hears appeals from the nine lower magistrates and presides over the major crimes docket, hearing the most serious felony cases at the Court. Judge Michael is also responsible for the administration of the court's Administrative Services Division, Court Services Division, and Child Support Services Division.

About Judge Michael

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has elected Judge Dan H. Michael of Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn., to president of the NCJFCJ Board of Directors.

“Judge Dan Michael is the definition of judicial leadership–leading on and off the bench to create change in their community while impacting reform nationwide,” said Joey Orduña Hastings, NCJFCJ CEO. “Judge Michael’s active efforts in Memphis and Shelby County is a national model. He has created a trauma-responsive court and has eliminated juvenile court fees for children and families, shifting how we all approach systems reform. The NCJFCJ has been fortunate to have Judge Michael as an active leader for many years and his unwavering commitment to children and families will make him a seasoned leader of the NCJFCJ.”

Judge Dan H. Michael was elected to the bench of the Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court in 2014. With more than 20 years of extensive juvenile law experience, Judge Michael has dedicated his career to advocating the rights for children who have been abused and neglected. Judge Michael has presided in cases in all dockets of juvenile court from child support, delinquency, abuse and neglect, and termination of parental rights to transfers of juveniles to the adult criminal system.  

“Tennessee’s judiciary is made up of individuals who not only strive to bring fairness and justice to the communities in which they serve but individuals who also lead outside their courtroom to make an impact at the national level,” said Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins, Tennessee Supreme Court. “The NCJFCJ is in good hands with Judge Michael at the helm, and Tennessee’s judiciary is strong because of individuals like him.” 

Judge Michael was appointed Chief Counsel to Judge Kenneth Turner in 1995 and also served as Magistrate Pro Temp. Judge Turner later appointed him to the bench as a full-time Juvenile Court Referee in 2001. Judge Curtis S. Person appointed Judge Michael as Chief Magistrate and Special Judge in 2013. 

Judge Michael received his law degree at Memphis State University’s Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. During law school, he volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Memphis and Shelby County. Upon his graduation, he entered into law as a CASA attorney. He later became the Executive Director of CASA of Memphis and Shelby County representing abused and neglected children at juvenile court. 

“This is a meaningful and significant appointment, and it reflects well upon the Memphis community,” said Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN-09). “As one of the oldest judicial membership organizations, the NCJFCJ plays an important role in guiding children and families through our often complex and confusing legal system. I am confident Judge Dan Michael’s expertise will be an asset to the organization and its members.” 

Judge Michael was recognized by the American Bar Association of Young Lawyers for Significant Legal Contribution to Advancing the Welfare of our Nation’s Children and was awarded the Child Advocacy National Certificate of Recognition. Judge Michael has been a member of the NCJFCJ since 2003, board director since 2016, has served on numerous committees, and as Treasurer, President-elect, and now, President of the Board of Directors.

Judge Michael was recently interviewed on 
Bloomberg Law to discuss his years on the bench, the work of the NCJFCJ, and his goals for juvenile and family courts.