November 2017 Newsletter Headlines
Quote of the Month
Shout Out

October Quote
If plan "A" fails, you have 25 
letters left.
~Author Unknown
October's Quote of the Month Winner
Lynda Lopez
Clerk IV/Receptionist - Clinic for Child Study
Ms. Lopez has been employed with the Court for 22 years.

October's Quote of the Month Winner

November Quote
Fill your heart with the kindness of friends, the caring of everyone you love, and the richness of memories you wouldn't trade for anything.
~ Douglas Pagels
November's Quote of the Month Winner
Ursula E. Richardson
Court Clerical Worker - FOC
Ms. Richardson has been employed with the Court for 5 years.

CASA Award
On October 26, 2017, at the Assumption Cultural Center, in St. Clair Shores, our very own Brenda Charleston, CASA volunteer, was awarded outstanding CASA of the year by Wayne County Friends of CASA and the CASA staff. Brenda will also be recognized during the State CASA Conference, in Traverse City, as Michigan's Volunteer CASA of the year.
Ms. Charleston has been a CASA volunteer for 14 years and has been appointed to 15 cases by the jurists. She has gone over and beyond the call of duty to help bring the most difficult cases to permanency. She will not hesitate to visit schools, agencies, homes, and residential facilities to obtain documentation and information.
We are so proud to have Ms. Charleston as a valued member of the CASA volunteer staff. Congratulations to Ms. Brenda Charleston CASA extraordinaire.
Please use the QR code to see Ms. Charleston being recognized at the State CASA Conference.

Bench Bar
The Third Circuit Court's Civil Division judges and the Detroit Bar Association hosted a bench-bar conference on October 27, bringing together judges and attorneys for a lively panel and audience discussion focusing on no-fault and auto negligence law, with an emphasis on provider suits in the aftermath of the
Covenant decision. The panel of speakers consisted of Hon. Sheila Ann Gibson, Hon. David J. Allen, and Hon. John A. Murphy of the Third Circuit Court; Hon. Jamie Wittenberg of the 44th District Court; Shawn Lewis 
of Hewson & Van Hellemont; Jenifer Measel of Haas & Goldstein, P.C.; and Jennifer Damico of the Mike Morse Law Firm. Judge Patricia Perez Fresard served as moderator. An interactive discussion allowed participants to share ideas on topics such as assignments, joinder of necessary parties, and communicating and coordinating with providers to facilitate the resolution of claims. Attorney Paula Cole offered one of many positive reviews stating, "Great networking-panel was well-informed"; while attorney William Rivard said, "Judges' insights were excellent."
The next Civil Division bench-bar event will take place in January and focus on the topics of discovery and case evaluation, and 
will feature representatives of the Mediation Tribunal Association.
Learning more about Judge Kei and Japan

This month Judge Kei shared the Japanese Traditional treat called Dorayaki
(どら焼き).  It is a type of Japanese confection, a red-bean pancake which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of a sweet Azuki red bean paste or a chestnut paste.  It tastes like a vanilla wafer with a filling.  They were delicious!  

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Holiday Hours

The Court will be closed for the holiday beginning Friday, December 22, 2017 through Monday, January 1, 2018.  

Yellow Stripes


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This month we celebrate Thanksgiving on November 23, Adoptions Day on November 17th, and World Kindness Day on the 13th.
The celebrations all recognize the importance of human connections and relationships. We have several needs for survival; the need for love, belonging, and appreciation is one. This month we share time with friends and family, witness and partake in the creating Forever Families on the Adoptions docket, and commit random acts of kindness for those we love and those we don't even know.
We hope you partake. "What the world needs now is love." Jackie DeShannon
Judge Lila Neuenfelt Portrait Unveiling

The Third Circuit Court hosted the unveiling of the portrait of Judge Lila Neuenfelt.  Chief Judge Denise Page Hood and Hon. Sharon Finch, former judges of the Third Circuit Court were in attendance, along with Third Circuit Court Chief Judge Colombo, Judge Muriel D. Hughes, and many of the current judges of the Third Circuit Court.  University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) Law School Dean Phyllis Crocker shared that Judge Neuenfelt and Judge Hughes are both alumni of UDM Law School.  The Executive Court Administrative Team and members of the referee staff from other divisions were present.  Also in attendance from UDM was Tanya Lundberg, Director of Career Services and Outreach, and Michelle Shember, a current law student.  Judge Hughes shared the history of Judge Neuenfelt and reminded the audience of the significance of Judge Neuenfelt's accomplishments.  Coincidentally, the portrait unveiling was held October 11, 2017, which also marked the International Day of the Girl.  

Judge Karen Braxton - Warrior Award

Congratulations to Judge Karen Braxton for receiving the Warrior Award from the House of Providence, which recognizes the relentless advocacy for Michigan's youth.



New Jury Commissioner

The jury office has a new Jury Commissioner.  Attorney Jeremy Orr was sworn in by Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. on October 2nd, 2017.  Commissioner Orr is a member of the Michigan Democratic Party.  He is a private attorney practicing environmental and civil rights law.  He comes to Third Circuit Court with a wealth of knowledge and experience from his service on the jury board in Kalamazoo County.  "It would be my honor to serve my community on the Jury Commission. The fair administration of justice is a key component of our democracy and nowhere in our judicial system is this more significant than in jury trials." - Commissioner Jeremy Orr.  
Welcome to our team, Commissioner Orr!

On September 27, The Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan, Juvenile Section hosted a Human Trafficking Presentation that was not to be missed.  With children as young as 11-years-old being at risk for Human Trafficking, we felt an obligation to bring valuable and factual information to the community.  According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.  Dr. Jeremy Norwood, Ph.D., MA, JD, BA of Spring Arbor University; FBI Special Agent Nate Knapper of the U.S. Department of Justice; Joyce Dixson-Haskett, LMSW, ACW of Pathways 2; Detective Kimree Beckem of DPD-Sex Crimes Unit; and all experts in the field of Human Trafficking, shared riveting facts and accounts of this epidemic that is plaguing communities.  WCCCD - Downtown Campus graciously provided the space for the event.  The event was well attended by the public, law enforcement, school representatives, and social service agencies.  The positive response from attendees was overwhelming.  Outreach services were provided by the Wayne County Friend of the Court, The Juvenile Law Group, MCLC and CHAP.
FOC Staff at Boyne's Michigan Family Support Council


The Third Circuit Court Collections Unit is responsible for the collection of court-imposed costs, fines, and fees as determined by the Jurist.  The Collections Unit was established in 2014 in the Juvenile Division of the Third Circuit Court.  In February 2015, the Collections Unit devoted staff to the Criminal Division in order to increase collection efforts. 
It is the responsibility of the Collections Unit to enforce reimbursement of court ordered fines, fees and costs.  Our enforcement method includes: 
  • Sending Delinquency Notice to the defendant/responsible party at the last known address with instructions on how to pay the court ordered fees.
  • Initiate and monitor monthly payment schedules.
  • Monthly payment reminder Robo-calls.
  • An Order to Remit and Judgment of Sentence is sent to the Department of Corrections to remit funds from the prisoner's account when the defendant is sentenced to prison. 
  • Initiate State Income Tax garnishments.
  • Locate debtors.
  • Complete a financial evaluation to determine if the responsible party has the ability to pay based on the Federal Guidelines.  If it is determined the responsible party does not have the ability to pay, fees are waived.
  • Refer accounts to Municipal Services Bureau (MSB), a third-party collection agency contracted by the court, to perform ongoing collections activity.  Such activity includes a progressive letter series companion, skip-tracing, as well as predictive dialer, interactive dialer, and manual telephone contact.
Third Circuit Court affirms that collecting court attorney fees, costs, and fines is an integral part of the judicial system. Consistent enforcement of court ordered costs and fees, sends a clear message that the court intends to and will enforce its orders. 
Experience demonstrates that a prompt and graduated response to noncompliance is the most effective approach.  The Collections Unit has therefore established an enforcement initiative that, in conjunction with a private collection agency, will ensure that regular progressive action will be taken for failure to pay various types of court ordered assessments.
Wayne and Macomb Friends of the Court 
Joint Bench Warrant Amnesty Program
Wayne and Macomb County Friends of the Court held a joint bench warrant amnesty program the last full week of October, aimed at providing payers with outstanding civil child support bench warrants from either county the opportunity to appear at an off-site venue or Friend of the Court office of their choice to resolve their warrants.  Payers who brought a  $500.00 payment had their warrant dismissed in an ARREST FREE ZONE.
Wayne and Macomb County had weekend events at the Detroit Public Library and the Max Thompson Family Resource Center in Warren on October 21 and 28.  Payers continued to appear at both Friend of the Court offices between Monday, October 23 and Friday, October 27 to resolve their warrants.  Wayne County dismissed 68 bench warrants and collected $26,860.00. Macomb County dismissed 44 bench warrants and collected $20,250.00.
Wayne and Macomb Friends of the Court issued the following joint statement:     "This is a cooperative effort between Wayne and Macomb County to better serve the families of our counties. We want to avoid the trauma that an arrest may present while finding a way to more positively engage with payers.  In the process we will work to resolve outstanding warrants and, most importantly, pursue arrangements that allow for long-term, consistent financial support for children."
Payers that appeared were also advised of options to have their charging child support adjusted and of programs to have state-owed arrears forgiven. 
Friend of the Court account information is available on line at:
Anyone with Friend of the Court questions can contact the Wayne County Friend of the Court Call Center at 1-877- 543-2660 or the Macomb County Friend of the Court at 1-586-469-5160. Information is also available on-line at or

Executive Court Administrator Zenell Brown participated on the Women Lawyers' Association and the Black Women Lawyers' Association panel discussion with Wayne State University Law School students.  The panel shared about their various legal backgrounds, career paths, areas of practice, and challenges they may have faced as a woman in the profession.  The event was held in the Damon Keith Center on October 30, 2017.  Shawndrica Simmons serves as the current president of BWLAM, and Julie Gafkay serves as the current president of WLAM,

Juvenile Division 

The Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan, Juvenile Division participated in the 2017 National Judicial Conclave II sponsored by the Casey Family Programs in Kansas City, MO, October 24 - 26, 2017.  The Casey Family Program provides technical support, data, training, and best practices to 13 different jurisdictions from around the country.  The Michigan delegation from our Juvenile Division was led by Presiding Judge Virgil Smith.  The goal of the Casey Family Program is to assist courts in improving services for and the experience of families when children are removed from their homes and placed in foster care.  Our own Juvenile Division has participated with Casey since May of 2014.  The activity and the initiatives of the Juvenile Division were highlighted at the Conclave. 

The Detroit Bar Association hosted the 2018 Fall Swearing In Ceremony.  Judge Mariam Bazzi presided over this special session as the Young Lawyers of the DBA and private counsel moved for the admission of the candidates of the bar.  Judge Prentis Edwards, Jr. welcomed the new attorneys to the profession reminding them of sanctity of the oath they had taken and providing practical tips for success.  The Bar Admission Ceremony is always a special occasion for the candidates and their families.  And the staff of the County Clerk Cathy M. Garrett and Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo are acknowledged for their continued partnership with the DBA on the memorable event and join extend congratulations and best wishes to Doaa Kadhim Al-Howaishy; Ka'Nea Kenyetta Brooks; Jill Nicole Burnette; Sabra Nicole Bushey; Sarah Elizabeth Coats; Jonathan Contreras; Elizabeth Eleanor Ellison; Lee Lovell Elsey, III; Chanetta Ranada Nicole Franklin; Norman Kurtis Freda; Connor Brian Gallagher; Erika Lynn Giroux; Peter Kautz Hamp; Brandon M. Jackson; Arielle Olga Javarinis; Zachary David Lincoln; Nadia Maraachli; Jasmine Ayana Moore; David C. Nalley; Kimberly Orr; Mark Thomas Rajt, Jr.; Shannon Lynne Reighard; Meagan Sandhawalia; William Danaher Savage; Isaac Anthony Skaggs; Jennifer Kate Sluka; Amy Huang Smith; Rachael Laura Elizabeth Stemmler; Peter Truskolawski; Ryan Jason VanOver; Jessica Pask; Aidan Christopher Yee; and Claire Bouchard Ziegeler.