Judge Carniak was appointed by the Governor to the bench of the 52-3 District Court in January of 2000. She has subsequently been elected by the community ever since. She attended Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration in 1979. She received her Juris Doctorate from the Detroit College of Law in 1985. Judge Carniak served as an associate and partner in private law firms for 15 years prior to taking the bench. While in private practice, Judge Carniak was also a Magistrate at the 52-3 District Court.
Judge Carniak initiated both the Mock Trial program and the Leading Change program. In the Mock Trial program, 5th grade students learn about the legal system firsthand by participating in a mock criminal trial. Students also take a tour of the Oakland County Sheriff's substation and observe actual criminal proceedings in the courtroom. In the Learning Change program, high school students learn real life lessons by hearing cases in the courtroom. Students talk to actual defendants sentence to jail about substance abuse, addiction and decision making.
As an active participant in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Teen Court program, Judge Carniak opens her courtroom every month to area youth. She presides over hearings for teen offenders who are being sentenced by their peers.
Judge Carniak is past president of the Oakland County District Judges' Association and the Rochester Bar Association. She is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Oakland County Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association, and a Fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation.
Judge Carniak is also involved in a variety of community organizations. She is a past board member of the Rochester/Auburn Hills Community Coalition, YMCA and the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. She was the first recipient of the Oakland County Salute to Justice Distinctive Service Award, for her significant community service and notable contributions to the court.