The Hon. Patrick C. Bowler, retired, served as Judge with the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., for 24 years, with 10 years as the Chief Judge of the Court. He graduated with honors from both Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law. Judge Bowler was the Director/Attorney of the Kent County Office of the Defender. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Michigan State University School of Law and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School where he taught Criminal Law and Procedure. Judge Bowler is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Judge Bowler was President of the Michigan District Judges Association in 1994. He served on the Executive Board of the Judicial Conference Section of the Michigan State Bar and was elected Chairperson in 1997. He served as Co‑Chair of the Michigan State Bench/Bar Planning Committee for four years. Judge Bowler has served as Co‑Chair of the Racial Justice Institute Immediate Response Team and as Co‑Chair of the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Legal Assistance Center Committee. He was elected President of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Bar Association for the term 2002-2003.
In 1998, Judge Bowler instituted a Drug Treatment Court Program for felons and misdemeanants in Kent County, Michigan. He was the Drug Treatment Court Judge for 10 years. Judge Bowler also founded a Sobriety Court Program directed at multiple-offender misdemeanor and felony drunk drivers. He also founded a Hispanic Sobriety Court. Judge Bowler is a past member of the Board of Directors of Project Rehab, a residential and outpatient drug rehabilitation program in Grand Rapids
Judge Bowler presently serves on the faculty of the National Drug Court Institute as a consultant assisting in the development of drug treatment courts and sobriety courts nationwide. He has presented on judicial leadership and a multitude of legal and procedural drug treatment court subjects. He has represented the State of Michigan on the Congress of State Drug Court Associations and as a consultant to the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Judge Bowler is a past president of the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. Judge Bowler was appointed by the Michigan Legislature to serve on the first State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee and served as Chair of that Committee.
Judge Bowler is presently the State of Michigan Judicial Outreach Liaison, serving as a statewide resource for the Michigan judiciary, legislative and executive branches on issues of public safety, including training and technical assistance for Michigan’s problem-solving courts. He has held that position for the past seven years.
In years 2005 and 2009, Judge Bowler was the recipient of the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals' William G. Schma Achievement Award for his vision and leadership in the establishment and education of treatment courts in Michigan. Judge Bowler was also the recipient of the 2011 Marion Hilligan Public Service Award from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. At the 2017 Annual Conference of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Judge Bowler was awarded the National DWI Court Leadership Award.