JANUARY 2019 
January 2019 Newsletter Headlines
Employee Highlight of the Month

Employee Highlight of the Month
Lynn Reeves - Deputy Law Librarian
Administration/General Counsel

Q.  How many years have you been employed with the Court?
A.   Thirty years as of January 18, 2019. 
Q.  Do you have any skills or talents that most people don't know about?
A.   Shorthand.  Cook soul food.  Please note, I'm learning how to cook greens.  For mac & cheese, I use Patti's Over the Rainbow recipe and replace Velveeta with white cheddar.
Q.  If you could be anywhere other than here right this minute, where would you be?
A.  A tropical island with family and friends.
Q.  Who do you admire, and why?
A.   My oldest, William, is a wonderful person.  He is always there for our family.  He raised his son as a single father and has always told us right from wrong.  He is a project manager at Comerica and has an engineering degree.  He is just perfect!
Q.  Finish this sentence.  On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
A.   At church, at Bath & Body Works, or at my parents'.  I'm always cracking a joke.
Q.  What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
A.   Patience, problem-solving, team player, strong work ethic.  I'm learning management skills and to take nothing personally.
Q.  Name three words that describe you.
A.   Reliable, motivated, happy.
Q.  What are you happiest doing when you're not working?
A.   Shopping.  Playing bid whist and spades.  Reading murder mysteries and romance books.
Q.  What is your personal motto?
A.   Life is a lesson and whether you choose to learn from it is up to you.
Q.  What are some causes you care about?
A.   Breast cancer and dementia are two causes I care about deeply.  I enjoyed our team outing at Gleaners.
Q.  What is an enjoyable part of your job?
A.   Helping others.
Q.  What are some career highlights?
A.   Law Day - I have helped organize Law Day ever since I started at the court.  Helping at the Self-Help Center.  I end the day exhausted but feeling good after helping the public.
Q.  What is your dream job?
A.   I used to dream of being a nurse to help people.  I really want to help people.  
Q.  What college/university did you go to?
A.   Native Detroiter who graduated from Redford High School.  I attend Detroit Business Institute and also was a paralegal of UofD.
Q.  What's a little known fact that you are willing to share?
A.   I am shy.  I like to stay in the background.  Also I took karate when I was younger.


2018 Penobscot Building Employee Recognition


On December 17, 2018, Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. and Judge Kathleen M. McCarthy, Presiding Judge of the Family Domestic Division, gathered with approximately 80 Third Circuit Court staff who work in the Penobscot Building to recognize their years of service to the Court.  Honored were those with ten to fourteen years of service and those with over twenty-three years of service. Staff were presented tokens of appreciation for their years of service.  

2018 Family Division Holiday Celebration


On December 14, 2018 the Family Division Judges hosted an Employee Holiday Luncheon to celebrate the accomplishments of the hardworking employees of the Wayne County Friend of the Court and thanking them for their service in 2018.
Two hundred guests attended the event featuring a special presentation from Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court, Hon. Robert J. Colombo Jr. as he officially swore in the new Deputy Court Administrator of the Family Division, our new Wayne County Friend of the Court, Ms. Erin Lincoln.

On December 12, Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr. recognized CAYMC employees for their years of service.  Recognized were employees with 10-14 years of service, employees with 23 and up years of service, and the employees with 15-22 years of service who were unable to attend the Recognition Ceremony at the Federal Reserve Building.  Also present to recognize the employees was Zenell B. Brown, Executive Court Administrator; Lyn Roberts, Chief Financial Officer; Toby Horner, Deputy Chief Financial Officer; Benita Cheatom, Director of Human Resources; Cherece Hurley, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations; and Rich Lynch, General Counsel.

Yellow Stripes


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New Beginnings,
As Third Circuit Court begins the 2019 year, there are several new beginnings.  Foremost, Third Circuit Court has a new Chief Judge.  The Honorable Timothy M. Kenny is the new Chief for the Court.  Judge Kenny previously served as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division and has served on the bench since 1996.  The Court also welcomes two presiding judges.  Judge Prentis Edwards is the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, and Judge Edward Joseph will serve as the Presiding Judge of the Family Division-Juvenile.  Judge Kathleen McCarthy continues as the Presiding Judge of the Family Division-Domestic Relations, and Judge Patricia Fresard continues as the Presiding Judge of the Civil Division.  The number one priority for the Court continues to be providing accessible and equal justice with timely dispute resolution, and the Court leadership is looking for new ways to engage its committed workforce and to deliver the best judicial services possible.  So if you are an employee, welcome to 2019 and be ready to bring forward new ideas.  If you are stakeholder, partner, court user, welcome to 2019 and be ready for new ideas to be implemented.  Happy New Year!

The results have been tabulated from the 2018 public satisfaction survey, and Third Circuit Court continues to maintain high approval ratings for its delivery of services. 

Court users rate the Court's accessibility and its treatment of the public in terms of fairness, equality, and respect.  92% agreed or strongly agreed that they were treated with courtesy and respect by court staff, 89% agreed or strongly agreed that they were treated with courtesy and respect by judges and referees, 79% of the people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they could complete their court business in a reasonable amount of time, and 86% agreed or strongly agreed that they understood what happened in their case.  Pleased with the 2018 results, Chief Judge Timothy Kenny adds, "The Third Circuit Court continuously strives to improve the quality of service to all who appear in our courthouses."

Third Circuit Court continues to add new programs and services for the public.


The Self-Help Center will offer services on Fridays at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.  The center will be open each Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at CAYMC in courtroom 1901. Judge Eric Cholack and Judge Patricia Fresard spearheaded the opening of the CAYMC location.  Judge Fresard commented, "The new center is a valuable and much needed resource given that family, civil, and FOC cases are filed here at CAYMC."  Parties who visit the Self-Help Center will have access to forms through and can also obtain information regarding other legal resources.  Self-Help Center staff are trained on using the website and LawHelp Interactive, and how to properly provide assistance to self-represented litigants without providing legal advice. Judge Cholack reflected, "This is an important development that will help to ensure that all persons-regardless of resources-have meaningful access to the justice system."


The Jury Services Department is offering educational tours and learning sessions to schools so that students may learn more about the court system and the importance of Jury Service.  The Tour is open to 4th grade to 12th grade classes and includes a mock-trial.  Interested educators may contact Court Administration at (313) 224-5261 for details.


In addition to these programs, the Court will continue the semi-annual Friend of the Court help event at the Detroit Public Library to provide child support information and assistance.
The mission of the Third Circuit Court is to provide accessible and equal justice with timely dispute resolution.  The Third Circuit Court is the largest trial court in Michigan with over 60,000 new filings annually.  The Court has 58 judges and approximately 600 staff who are committed public servants.  Chief Timothy M. Kenny is proud of the public's high level of satisfaction with the services and is committed to continue enhancing access to justice for all.

Three judicial icons retired at the end of 2018.  Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo Jr., Judge and former Chief Judge Virgil C. Smith, and Judge Richard B. Halloran hung up their robes at the end of December.  All three judges have made a mark on the legal community and their work has left a lasting imprint on the legal community.

Judge Richard B. Halloran

Judge Richard B. Halloran was appointed to the Third Circuit Court bench in 1998 by Governor John Engler.  Judge Halloran is the last of the original Family Court judges on the Third Circuit bench.  Judge Halloran has proudly served all of his 20 years as a Circuit Court Judge on the bench in the Family Division.
A graduate of Canisius College, Judge Halloran was born and grew up in the Buffalo, New York area. He graduated from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1975 and was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan that fall.
Before his judicial appointment, Halloran worked as a civilian attorney with the Department of the Army; quit the law and served as regional vice president of several national real estate firms; served as magistrate in the 36th District Court in Detroit; and, served as an administrative law judge for the Michigan Liquor Control Board.
Judge Halloran is widely recognized for his involvement in the fight against domestic abuse.  He helped create the first domestic violence docket in the 36th District Court and actively campaigned to help create personal protection orders and making stalking a crime.  Additionally, he served on various task force and boards to raise judicial and public awareness of domestic violence and to help call for needed changes in policies and laws regarding domestic violence.  He served as co-chair of the Wayne County Coordinating Council to Prevent Family Violence, a member of the Governor's Task Force to create standards for batterer intervention programs, board member on the State Domestic Violence and Treatment Board; and, most recently as a member of the State Bar of Michigan Domestic Violence Committee.  As a Circuit Court judge, he created the Personal Protection Order Docket and was instrumental in developing the Solution-Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Docket that deals with high lethality cases.  Judge Halloran has received numerous honors and is especially proud of his work on behalf victims of domestic violence. 
He also served on the Family Law Council of the State Bar of Michigan, serving as chair of the Section from 2016-17.  He was involved in the creation of the LGBTQA Section of the State Bar and served as its chair from 2017-18.
Judge Halloran is proudest of receiving the Marilyn J. Kelly Award for outstanding service as a Family Division Judge from the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan in 2017.
Halloran also sings in Measure for Measure, a men's choral society.

Judge Virgil Smith

In 2004, Virgil Smith was appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the Third Circuit Court.  Prior to his appointment, Judge Smith held various legal positions and appointments.  Moreover, he served in the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate.  During his tenure as a legislator, he chaired the Economic Development and Energy Committee and served on 21st Century Commission on the Courts, and Law Revision Commission.  Judge Smith chaired the Special Committee on Court Reorganization in 1980.  The committee created a standardized Michigan judicial system with the Office of the State Court Administrator.  As a Senator, Judge Smith was the first African American Senate Democratic leader.  Judge Smith has a long list of awards and acknowledgements for his legislative career, including Legislator of the Year by both the Michigan Judges Association and the Police Officers Association of Michigan. 
On the bench, Judge Smith served in the Family Division-Juvenile Section and was the Presiding Judge of that division from 2004-2006.  On January 1, 2009, Judge Smith became the Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court, having been appointed by a unanimous vote of the Michigan Supreme Court.  He was the first African American chief circuit court judge in the state of Michigan.  His accomplishments during his Chief Judgeship included securing financial funding for the court operations and prudently managing those finances.  During his Chief Judgeship, he led the charge for efficiency and effectiveness which resulted in innovative court programs and projects such as implementation of the new case management system, eFiling, Court Officers, and child support bench warrant amnesty.   Judge Smith has been recognized by many professional and civic organizations for his forward thinking and contributions throughout his career.
Judge Smith was born and raised in the Conant Gardens community of Detroit, Michigan.  He graduated from Pershing High School, received his B.A. in political science from Michigan State University, and received his J.D. from Wayne State University Law School in 1972.
Judge Smith rides a motorized scooter bike and resides in Detroit.  He is married to the former Elizabeth Little and he's the father of one daughter, Jordan, and three sons, Virgil Kai, Adam, and Anthony.

Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr.

In November 1982 Judge Colombo was elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court.  In 1972, he had graduated cum laude from the University of Miami (Florida) and the Detroit College of Law.   Prior to his election, he spend two years clerking at the law firm Jenkins, Fortescue, Miller & Nystrom, and from June 1975 through December 1976, Judge Colombo served as the law clerk for the Hon. George N. Bashara, Jr. on the Michigan Court of Appeals.  For the next six years, from 1977 through 1982, Judge Colombo was an associate at the law firm of Riley & Roumell handling civil, criminal, and domestic relations cases at the trial and appellate levels.  His civil practice included commercial business and employment cases and representing public school districts.
During his judicial tenure, Judge Colombo has handled civil, criminal, and domestic relations cases.  In 1992 Judge Colombo became the asbestos judge for Wayne County Circuit Court.  In 1993 he was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to handle all of the breast implant cases in the State of Michigan.  In 2000 the Michigan Supreme Court appointed him to handle all class action lawsuits brought under the Michigan Antitrust Law against Microsoft.
The Michigan Supreme Court appointed Judge Colombo Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court in October 2013 for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2014.  He was reappointed for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2016.  Perhaps the most important accomplishment during Chief Judge Colombo's tenure was the creation of a strategic plan for the Court.  The process began in February 2016 to develop a five-year strategic plan to assist the Court to identify priorities, lay out future action to continuously improve the Court, and provide a blueprint for the Court's direction.  Other accomplishments include the Court's participation in the launching of statewide eFiling, the continued high ratings in public satisfaction surveys, and the court leadership's presentations at the National Association of Court Managers Mid-Year Conference and the World Conference of the Internal Institute of Restorative Practices.
Chief Judge Colombo has received numerous awards from civic, bar, and community associations.  In the September-October 2018 edition of the Detroit Lawyer, the spotlight was on Robert J. Colombo Jr., the recipient of the Dennis Archer where the legal community celebrated his 36 years of contributions.  Chief Judge Colombo exemplifies the ideal of the law as public service.
Judge Colombo followed his family into the legal profession.  His grandfather, Emil William Colombo, was a principal in the law firm of Colombo, Colombo, Colombo, Vermuelen & Colombo.  His father, Robert Colombo, was also a principal in that law firm, as well as a Detroit Recorder's Court Judge and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge until retirement in 1985.
Judge Colombo is married to Administrative Judge Jane Colombo (Sullivan) and they have two adult sons, Jimmy and Bobby.
The legal community has had the benefit of these three judicial icons on a local, state, and national level. Judge Halloran, Judge Smith, and Judge Colombo may no longer be sitting on the bench, but they have made a lasting imprint on the local, state, and national legal community; and they have left the legal community better from their wisdom and their works.

On December 5, Third Circuit Court recognized its employees who had 15-22 years of service at a ceremony held at the Federal Reserve Building.  Also recognized were retiring judges, Chief Judge Robert J. Colombo, Jr.; Judge Richard B. Halloran; and Judge Virgil C. Smith for their years of service on the bench.