December 2018 Newsletter Headlines
Employee Highlight of the Month

November - Employee Highlight of the Month
Joanne Gaskin
Judicial Secretary
Civil Division

Q. Coke or Pepsi?

A. Coke.
Q. How many years have you been employed with the Court?

A. I have worked 10 years with Judge Ewell. I have worked with him in Criminal and Civil Divisions. I previously worked for Judge Jeffrey Collins, U.S. Attorney for Eastern District and Judge Harold Hood of Court of Appeals.
Q. If you could be somewhere other than here, where would you be?

A. I would like to be cruising where it's warm with my two travel buddies. We have been on several excursions, cruising from Canada through Maine, London England cruise to Paris and Belgium, St. Thomas, St. Martin.   Every April, I can be found in New York City.
Q. Who do you admire, and why?

A. Judge Harold Hood, Judge Collins, and Judge Ewell mentored me and were great to work for.
Q. Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...

A. I have attended on Sundays First Baptist Church of Ecorse for over 50 years. I'm very active and have been instrumental on many committees.
Q. What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?

A. I am a people person. If I can help somebody, I will. Most people do not understand the court system and I will take the time to assist and guide with compassion.   I also have kind words for my co-workers. As my late mother would say, "It does not cost anything to be a kind person."
Q. Name three words to describe you.

A. Dedicated. Hardworking. Loyal.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?

A. I enjoy spending time with family. I especially enjoy having one-on-one conversations with my 15-year-old grandson.

Q. What is your personal motto?

A. Search for the truth. Let your word be your bond. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Q. What are some causes you care about?

A. I support the Adopt-A-Child Program. So every Christmas I select a child and buy gifts for the child. I buy snowsuits, dress outfit, casual outfit, underwear, and socks for my child. I have been doing this since I was a part of the U.S. Attorney Office.
Q. What are some career highlights?

A. When Judge Collins and I went to the U.S. Attorney's Office two weeks after 9/11, I learned a lot and gained a great respect for working with the local and national officials.


Judge George Stedman Hosmer

On November 1, 2018, Judge Annette Berry hosted the unveiling of the Portrait of George Stedman Hosmer. Judge William J. Giovan shared the history of Judge Hosmer. Judge Hosmer served on the Third Circuit bench from 1888 until his death in 1921.
The unveiling may be viewed by clicking on the below link.


In October, the Court arranged a two day visit to Frank Murphy Hall of Justice for the Wayne State Black Law Students Association to provide an introduction to and overview of the practice of criminal law.
On the first day, October 12th, Judge Timothy Kenny and Deputy Court Administrator Alisa Shannon greeted the students and provided an overview of the Criminal Division, the history of the Court, and described the various programs and dockets that the Court offers. Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Keith Clark, Director of Training, Recruitment, and CLE, and Ladonna Logan, who is assigned to the Homicide Unit and is a WSU Alum, and Kimberley Reed Thompson, Associate General Counsel, who has worked at FMHJ from 1982-1992 as a Deputy Defender with Legal Aid and Defender Assn. and 1992 to present in Office of General Counsel described their duties and experiences in the practice of criminal law. Assistant Prosecutors Keith Clark and Ladonna Logan spoke to the students about the duties of an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. They also described the Office's yearlong internship program.
The students returned on October 19th to observe motion call practice in Judge Bruce Morrow's courtroom. Judge Morrow met with the students before court began and took the time to explain the various court proceedings that they observed and explained the proceeding and the rationale behind various rulings. Kimberley Reed Thompson joined the discussion adding experiences she and Judge Morrow have had as criminal defense attorneys and in their current positions. They also discussed other areas of law that the students expressed an interest in pursuing in the future.
On both days, the speakers discussed the legal process with the students and added practical knowledge to the information previously studied in class. Many of the speakers also described their path to the law, their academic preparation, and their present roles in the legal system. By adding their personal experiences to the process, the speakers demonstrated that the legal process is composed of and serves the people of Wayne County and the surrounding region rather than operating as a distant academic or philosophical process. Ideally, the students returned to the classroom with a better understanding of the criminal justice process, roles for attorneys within the process, and the critical function that the Court provides within our society.    
Thank you to the speakers, Presiding Judge Kenny, Judge Morrow, DCA Alisa Shannon, Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Keith Clark and Ladonna Logan, Associate General Counsel Kimberley Reed Thompson and Karen Smith AA to DCA Alisa Shannon for providing bags with goodies and court information. The attending Wayne State Black Law Students were Monique Eubanks, Brianna Robins, Rejane Brooks, Alexis Smith, Andre Spivey, Dezha Dial, Victoria Lockhart, Taylor Ester, and James Johnson.


The Judges and their staff in CAYMC and FMHJ put together baskets to help Juvenile Court families have all the trimmings for a full Thanksgiving Day dinner. Items included: potatoes, vegetables, desserts, beverages, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gift cards, etc.

Thanksgiving Basket Drive was sponosred by:


The Third Circuit Court in conjunction with the Detroit Bar Association hosted the 2018 Fall Swearing In Ceremony of new attorneys on November 12th.  Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. presided over this special session and private counsel moved for the admission of the candidates of the bar.  Chief Judge Colombo welcomed the new attorneys to the profession reminding them of the 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, Jr. are acknowledged for their continued partnership with the DBA on the memorable event and join in extending congratulations and best wishes to all the new attorneys.
If you would like to view the swearing in, please click below.

Yellow Stripes


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Happy November,

As we enter the holiday season, let's not get hurried and hectic. Let us enter giving thanks and double our patience, joy, and gratitude. Let us be thankful for the adoptive parents who create Forever Families for children. Let us be thankful for those who take an oath of service like our newly appointed Court Appointed Special Advocates and the attorneys newly admitted to the bar. Let us be thankful for those who have completed their days of service to our country and court. Let us be patient with our neighbor and let us say "Thank You" aloud.


On November 8th, friends, family, and colleagues gathered to celebrate and honor the Honorable Robert J. Colombo, Jr. as he was presented with the Dennis W. Archer Public Service Award. The recipient is an attorney or jurist who exemplifies the law as public service. The evening was emceed by Andrew Humphrey from WDIV. Presenters included Judge Mary Beth Kelly, Retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice; Judge William Giovan, Retired from Third Circuit Court; Judge Timothy M. Kenny, Third Circuit Court; Richard Lynch, General Counsel of Third Circuit Court; and Zenell B. Brown, Executive Court Administrator of Third Circuit Court. Additionally, Judge Milton Mack, Jr. of the State Court Administrative Office presented Chief Judge Colombo with a proclamation recognizing his years of service and dedication from the Michigan Supreme Court Justices. There were 451 people in attendance and the event raised $166,575, which the proceeds will help fund free legal clinics and community outreach programs.
If you would like to see additional photos from the event, please click view gallery.  

We Will Miss You

Chief Judge Colombo and Claudia Wilson. Chief Judge Colombo attended his last Collections meeting before he retires.


Third Circuit Court Judges and staff celebrated the Retirement of Judge Richard B. Halloran with the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association. Judge Halloran is one of the original judges of the Family Court and the pioneer of court dockets that dealt with the issue of domestic violence.


On November 6th, Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr., Richard Lynch, and Michelle Milligan attended the State Bar of Michigan 41st Michigan Legal Milestone "First to Abolish the Death Penalty."
If you would like to learn more about all of Michigan Legal Milestones, visit the State Bar of Michigan website at

 Friend of the Court and UAW 
                  Collaborate to Help Citizens                

The Friend of the Court (FOC) teamed with UAW Region 1A Local 164 on an Open House held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 to promote the Friend of the Court's regular outreach on the first Friday of the month, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Voting Center located at 15140 Livernois. At the outreach events, FOC staff are available to assist parties with questions about their child support cases. The partnership between the FOC and UAW arose five years ago out of the UAW's representation of FOC Employees in the Judicial Attorney's Association collective bargaining unit, with the basic premise of UAW members helping UAW members.
As the Open House was held the Saturday before Election Day, the Voting Center was filled with UAW canvassers that morning. UAW President Gary Jones and Region 1A Director Chuck Browning made appearances to energize the pollsters before going out into the surrounding neighborhoods to solicit votes. Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. addressed the audience, informing them of the Friend the Court's outreach efforts to assist clients with their child support issues within the community. Executive Court Administrator Zenell Brown and Interim Friend of the Court - Deputy Court Administrator Erin Lincoln were also in attendance to show their support.
Several UAW canvassers took outreach flyers with them as they went door-to-door to spread voter awareness. Others took them back to their respective plants and benefits offices. A steady flow of people came to the Open House to meet with a FOC representative about their case. Twenty-two people had their child support needs served that day and now that the word is out, it is expected many more will come to the UAW the first Friday of every month.
A special thanks to the following dedicated outreach team members that took time out of their weekend to service the public: Sharon Atkins, LaDonna Cato-Floyd, Jillian Fitzgerald, Sunny Lee, and Nilda Reinosa.

Friend of the Court For Our Children Consortium

Many families have a negative image of the Wayne County Friend of the Court (FOC). In taking steps to educate our community and improve public awareness for a more positive image of the Court, the FOC launched a community-based project called "For Our Children Consortium." Since 2005, the Court has been bringing together organizations that have a commitment to serve children and families. The goal was to provide a forum for annual dialogue between Court personnel, community leaders, and community representatives, as well as the media to engage in enlightening discussions regarding child support, custody and parenting time issues that affect families.
This exchange of ideas and its feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The FOC uses this information to expand community outreach, increase public awareness of Family Domestic issues, and enhance future FOC operations and programs.
This year's Consortium was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in Detroit on October 3, 2018 and was facilitated by Ms. Sharlonda Buckman, Senior Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement for Detroit Public Schools. Representatives from agencies such as Family Assistance for Renaissance Men, Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services, and Lakeshore Legal Aid were in attendance to ask questions and provide feedback about FOC services.
Presentations were given by Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr.; Presiding Judge of the Family Division Kathleen M. McCarthy; Interim Friend of the Court Erin Lincoln; Referee Edrick Thompson; Referee Hulen Simpson; and FOC Attorneys Nilda Reinosa and Dominique Peacock.
This year the Consortium recognized the William Booth Legal Aid Clinic, The Children's Center, Young Fathers Standing United, Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center, and Focus: HOPE for their continuing partnership with the Friend of the Court and their dedication to improving the lives of children and families in Wayne County.
The FOC holds this event annually and may possibly expand the event next year to team with the Court's Family-Juvenile Division in doing so.

The Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan celebrated Adoption Day on November 16th. Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. Judge Christopher D. Dingell presided over the adoption of seven children. Justice Elizabeth T. Clement from the Michigan Supreme Court was the Keynote speaker; Roland Smith was the Master of Ceremonies; Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. issued the welcoming remarks, and Presiding Judge Virgil C. Smith also issued remarks.

The Court congratulates and thanks the families for allowing us to celebrate their special day.


If you would like to view the event, please click on the below link.

Metro Detroit couples finalize adoptions during National Adoption Month - WDIV Click on Detroit



~Melanie Cattermole


On November 9 and 10, 2018, the Michigan State CASA Conference was held in Grand Rapids, MI. at the Double Tree Hotel by Hilton. This year the theme was "The Power of One."
Over 200 Court Appointed Special Advocates and staff attended, including Wayne County Executive Director Roland Smith, Staff Volunteer Coordinator, Lenise Whitfield, and four CASA volunteers.
Many workshops were held to help enhance the advocacy of children in foster care. Our very own Roland Smith was among a list of presenters who presented on "How to Achieve and Maintain cultural Competence." This session highlighted how to value other cultures, identify in yourself the value of inclusion and not exclusion, how to have an open and honest dialog around race, and making sure your CASA program is as diverse as possible.
The Highlight of the conference was the Keynote speaker, Dr. James Henry, Ph.D. His lecture included how to identify trauma in children and families and the impact of Secondary Trauma specifically to CASA volunteers and staff.


New CASA's sworn in October 25, 2018 are:
Rachel Aston
Joan Ben-David
Heidi Eichbauer
Noelle Harb
Brandon Martin
Louis Martin
Walter Martin
Debra Pernell-Simmons

We look forward to our next conference in 2019. "It only takes one person to make a difference in a child's life." Are you the next CASA volunteer? If you can't volunteer perhaps you can donate gently used and worn clothing for our families in need. For further information on how to become a CASA volunteer, please contact the Wayne County CASA office at 313-833-3507.