Born January 19, 1966 in Dallas, Texas and raised in Estes Park, Colorado, Michael is the seventh child (fourth of seven boys) in a family of twelve. Michael enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on graduation from high school.
A Veteran with over 10 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Michael served overseas as a Marine Security Guard at U.S. Embassies in China, Japan, and Indonesia as a watch stander and an Assistant Detachment Commander and a Detachment Commander for a Secretary of State Visit to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. On returning to the United States from Marine Security Guard Duty, Michael attended the Marine Corps Counter Intelligence School in Dam Neck, Virginia and served later in Somalia and Haiti as a Counterintelligence Specialist. Upon his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1994 Michael worked for Vance International Security as an Executive Protection Agent. Michael has been a resident of Wake County for 19 years, moving to Raleigh in 1996 to work for MJM Investigations as a Case Manager and a Field Investigator.
Michael graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with undergraduate degrees in both English and Medieval History before attending the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University. On graduation from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law Michael went to work as a Litigation Associate with the Shanahan Law Group practicing in the Corporate, Civil, and Criminal law areas among others. Michael has been on the District Court Bench since 2010 when he first ran, successfully unseating the incumbent in his first election and running unopposed in his second. In his time on the District Court bench Judge Denning has presided over criminal misdemeanor and traffic court, felony pleas, initial appearances as well as regularly presiding over Civil District Court. Since January 2013 Judge Denning has served as a Family Court Judge presiding over Custody, Equitable Distribution, and Alimony cases while continuing to preside over Civil District Court. Judge Denning is a member in good standing of the Bar Association of both the State of North Carolina and Wake County and currently serves on the Wake County Fire Commission. Michael is married to Mrs. Jill M. Denning and they have two sons, Sullivan and Andrew.