MARCH 2018 
March 2018 Newsletter Headlines
Employee Highlight of the Month
March - Employee Highlight of the Month
Connie Molinaro - Human Resources Coordinator III

Connie Molinaro has been employed with the Court for 12 years.
Q. What is an enjoyable part of your job?
A. Assisting employees and judges with questions, especially when they are preparing for leave of absence. I do my best to help put them at ease. I also enjoy being part of the Strategic Project Implementation Plan, Expanding Informational Presentations to the Public. As part of this project, our goal is to increase the public awareness of the Court and also the Court's outreach events and information. T his year's focus is on content of the Court's website.
Q. What is the most important part of your job?
A. Processing employee leave of absence requests and ensuring they meet eligibility under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Also another important part of my job is onboarding newly elected/appointed Judges, providing them an explanation of health benefits options, and completing the necessary Human Resources' forms related to payroll and benefits.
Personal Fact: Connie is a runner. She ran the Free Press 5K and is aspiring to run the half marathon.


Japanese Clerks Visit Third  Circuit Court

Japanese Court Clerks, Ms. Naoko Fujikawa and Mr. Ryutaro Nishioka, visited the Third Circuit Court the week of March 12th. Naoko was interested in interpreting services that the Court provides and Ryutaro was interested in how to explain the procedures to the litigants who do not have an attorney or legal aid for themselves. They studied and researched successfully thanks to the hospitable support of the Third Circuit Court judges and staff.
It was a cold and snowy week but they had a great time here in Detroit.

On March 11th, Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers (ISIAL) held their 22nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Brunch at Mario's in Detroit. ISAL is celebrating its 40th year this year and is approximately 400 members strong. If you have any questions about ISIAL, please visit the group's website at for information about membership, leadership, and upcoming events.



On March 14th, CAYMC and FOC celebrated International Pi Day and National Chip Day. Judges and staff had a hard time deciding on what type of pie they wanted to eat. There was plenty, so some got to try a couple.

Thank you FOC Team for serving the public on February 24th!  And a Happy Birthday, Alyce!

Yellow Stripes


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March has been a great month for Court-Community relationships. Each month Michigan State University opens its doors for various court events, and the Veteran's Resource Fair at MSU ranks among the most impactful Court-Community collaborations. March was also a month for volunteerism as several Judges volunteered for a day of service at the Capuchin Kitchen and others hosted or presented at Expungement Fairs. Several FOC representatives, administrators, and Judges had an opportunity to work with the Detroit Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta on community projects. And Jennifer Cupples, President of Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers (ISAL), shared the history the ISAL Bar Association and its 2018 calendar of events. In addition to processing cases this month, the Judges and staff have been active in the community helping to impact positive change.
It is a fact that in the right formation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone. ~ Author Unknown

The Honorable Burton Leland

Burton Leland, age 69, passed away February 25, 2018. Born and raised in Detroit, Burton graduated from Mumford High School, earned a business degree at Wayne State University and a Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan. He entered politics in 1980, first as a State Representative and then a State Senator, and finally as a Wayne County Commissioner, always serving residents of Northwest Detroit.

As a statesman, Burton embodied what a true public servant should be. He was dedicated to improving the quality of life of the citizens for whom he cared so deeply. He developed a clean-up program that battled the blight threatening the neighborhoods in his district. He provided support to food banks, community gardens, neighborhood associations, and the Detroit Police Precincts. Burton felt a deep commitment to the Northwest community, individual residents, and children returning to school each fall. His firm belief that higher education was necessary to adult success led to his personal contributions to, and creation of the Burton Leland scholarship fund. Renowned for his dynamism, charisma, and irreverent nature, Burton was a tireless campaigner who loved knocking on doors to meet his constituents.

Notably, in the early 1980s Burton passed a bill in the House that became known as the Lemon Law, a consumer advocacy law that gave car buyers a brand new replacement if a defect was found that could not be fixed. Burton Leland will be missed by the thousands of constituents and the families he touched over the years, solving their problems, sharing their concerns and securing the services they needed.

Burton is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years Rosanne (Letvin), loving son Zachary, with daughter-in-law Nicole and darling granddaughter Lilly, and Detroit City Councilman Gabriel Leland, brother Joel and sister-in-law Andrea, mother-in-law Eileen Letvin, brother-in-law Joel Letvin and sister-in-law Dana Letvin and sister-in law Jane Letvin, and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by many wonderful and loving friends and colleagues.
This obituary was reprinted from The Ira Kaufman Chapel.


On March 7th, Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr.; Presiding Judge Kathleen M. McCarthy; Judge David J. Allen; Judge Edward J. Joseph; Judge Frank S. Szymanski; and Judge Daniel A. Hathaway volunteered at Capuchin's Service Center. They were busy keeping the shelves and the freezer stocked for the customers. They also learned about the history of Capuchin's and how they help those in need.

Court's Participation in Expungement Event

On February 24, 2018, the Wayne County Friend of the Court participated in the Expungement Clinic sponsored by the Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in partnership with Lakeshore Legal Aid.
The expungement programs (the fifth hosted by the sorority) traditionally draw a large segment of residents seeking to expunge misdemeanor and felony convictions in order to achieve a fresh start in their lives, with better opportunities for themselves and their families. The Friend of the Court has participated in the Delta's expungement program each of the five years they have been offered.
In addition to residents having been assisted by a large contingent of volunteer attorneys, who helped them prepare for expungement of adult and juvenile records at this year's event, those with child support cases also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with FOC attorneys, Alyce Haas and Adrienne Scruggs, if they wanted to discuss specifics of their cases. Denise Fitzhugh provided announcements throughout the program, encouraging participants to visit the FOC attorneys, and answered general questions regarding FOC services. Cleveland Marshall was also available to assist during the event.
Members of court administration and the bench were also on hand to give support and encouragement to residents seeking expungement of their records, including: Zenell Brown, Executive Court Administrator, Third Circuit Court; Judge Cynthia Stephens, Michigan First District Court of Appeals; Judge Karen Braxton, Third Circuit Court Family Division-Juvenile; Judge Aliyah Sabree, Thirty-Sixth District Court; and Judge Craig Strong, Third Circuit Court, Criminal Division.
Results of the event were that a total of 365 citizens were served, representing positive change and new possibilities for each of them. The Court is appreciative of the work of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., under the leadership of Detroit Alumnae Chapter President, Lois Bingham, and Social Action Committee Chairperson, Donyale Stephens-Atara for its continuing efforts to serve this segment of the community, and looks forward to a continued partnership in this work.

Human Trafficking Presentation

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, the Juvenile Section of the Family Division of the Third Circuit Court hosted a presentation conducted by the FBI on the topic of Human Trafficking. The presenter was Special Agent Knapper from the Detroit Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In attendance were Chief Judge Robert Colombo, Presiding Judge Virgil Smith, and Judges Karen Braxton, Jerome Cavanagh, Edward Joseph, and Frank Szymanski. Special Agent Knapper provided important information to jurists, probation officers, clinical case managers, and other mental health professionals that work with juveniles. Also in attendance were representatives from the Domestic Relations Section of the Family Division, led by Judge Kathleen McCarthy. The purpose of this training was to receive information on how to recognize and help those individuals that are trapped in human trafficking.

S.T.A.N.D. Program Graduation

On February 21, 2018, the Juvenile Drug Court - Supervised Treatment for Alcohol and Narcotics Dependency (S.T.A.N.D.) Program held its winter graduation ceremony at Michigan State University - Detroit Center. The ceremony was attended by over 80 guests, which included Third Circuit Court Judges and Executives. Among other distinguished guests included State Representatives, the Wayne County Treasurer, Wayne County Commissioners, Detroit City Council Members, several District Court Judges, and Magistrates. The Program had six graduates, who were honored with successful completion plaques from the S.T.A.N.D. Program, a special recognition certificate from State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, an acknowledgement of achievement from State Representative Rose Mary C. Robinson, a completion certificate from Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware, the Spirit of Detroit Award from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, and the book Big Sister Secrets from author Yolanda Jenkins. The guest speaker, DeAndre Carter, delivered an explosive message that provided the graduates, as well as the guests, with advice on how to obtain and maintain success in life. The program ended with a heartwarming thank you from the S.T.A.N.D. Program Judge, Honorable Karen Y. Braxton.  

Free Legal Help for Child Support Issues
The Salvation Army William Booth Legal Aid Clinic in a coordinated effort with Wayne County Friend of the Court is conducting a Free Child Support Help Program on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Ave., in the "Friends Auditorium" from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Attendees will have the chance to consult with volunteer family law attorneys.  These attorneys will assist in completing motion packets and provide some legal direction on child support, parenting time, and custody issues.  
There will be a brief presentation of the Arrears Forgiveness Program for Michigan State Owed Arrearage. Child support professionals will be on site to sign up parents and assist with paperwork. If qualified, they may be entitled to have some or all of their State arrearages waived. 
This will be an ARREST FREE ZONE. 
This program is one in a series of free child support help programs supported by various community service agencies. Stop by and visit with one of the many service providers who will be represented at this event. For questions, call (877)543-2660.

On March 6, 2018, Richard L. Smart, III participated in the "Better People Meeting Program" of Delta Prep Academy. His purpose was to go and discuss career choices.   Mr. Smart represented the Court in its attempt to participate in outreach in the community and let youth know about career opportunities.  In attendance for this program were not only youth representatives from Delta Prep, but also seniors from Delta Manor.  This is a powerful program that allows the youth and seniors to meet together on a monthly basis to learn and benefit from each other.  The synergy of these relationships proves to be a powerful assimilation of all the gems in the community.  Mr. Smart did speak of his career, his path to his profession, and the choices that were made along the way.  However, much of the discussion centered on making good decisions about life goals.  The youth and the seniors participated in a lively discussion and shared wisdom with each other.  This discussion was dynamic and should be duplicated wherever it can be organized.  Mr. Smart was just happy to be a part of the discussion and play a small role in this great group of leaders and future leaders .

William Booth Legal Aid Clinic

William Booth Legal Aid Clinic - Here is a great group of students from UDM Law School after one of their busy Family Law Outreach Clinics at the 3rd Circuit Court. Pictured are students from the Family Law Clinic Class, a former intern volunteering from the Access to Justice Class, and a student intern that has been with them for nearly a year.

HR Shout Out

The Office of Human Resources is located in Suite 720 of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. They also have a satellite office in Room 203 at the Lincoln Hall of Justice. HR is staffed by nine full-time employees.
In addition to conducting recruitments to fill vacancies, maintaining personnel files, and ensuring that the payroll is completed accurately and on time, the staff provides a variety of services and performs many different tasks in support of the achievement of the Court's mission and goals.
Each HR staff member plays an integral role in helping to ensure that the upgrade to Kronos 8.0 and the addition of the HR Module, which are currently being implemented, are successful.
Clyde Bradley, Human Resources Coordinator II
Bereavement Announcements, Employment Verifications, I-CHAT queries
Troy Evans, Assistant Human Resources Specialist
Employee of the Month, Internships, and Unemployment Matters
Cherece Hurley, Senior Manager
Liaison to WC for Payroll and Timekeeping matters; Desk Audits and Job Analyses; Contract, Handbook, and Policy interpretation; Retirement-related inquiries
Connie Molinaro, Human Resources Coordinator III
Leave Requests; LTD & Workers Compensation Claims; Organizational Charts; Facilitates and Resolves issues for members of the Bench
Shawn Perry, Human Resources Coordinator II
New Employee Orientation; Life Insurance records and claims; Mileage Reimbursements
Crystal Rose, Assistant Human Resources Specialist
Leave of Absence Administration, Performance Evaluations; Personal Services Contracts
Aktharul Shopon, Human Resources Coordinator I
Conference Approval forms; ID badges; Outside Employment documents