MAY  2019 
May 2019 Newsletter Headlines
Employee Highlight of the Month

Employee Highlight of the Month
April Green - Official Court Reporter
Administration/Court Reporting Services

Q. How many years have you been employed with the Court?
A. Twenty.
Q. Do you have any skills or talents that most people don't know about?
A.   Yes, many.
Q. If you could be anywhere other than here right this minute, where would you be?
A. On vacation in the Greek Islands lying on the beach.
Q. Who do you admire, and why?
A. My father, because he was the epitome of character and integrity and always gave his personal best, which defines a life with few regrets.
Q. Finish this sentence. "On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me..."
A. At church worshipping with family and friends.
Q. What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
A. A kind temperament, professionalism, and respect.
Q. Name three words that describe you.
A. Kind, fun-loving, creative.
Q. What are you happiest doing when you're not working?
A. Spending time with friends and family.
Q. What is your personal motto?
A. "A woman's job is to bring beauty to every life she touches." And "Every hallway is a runway."
Q. What are some causes you care about?
A. Protection and care of children, protection and care of the elderly, and environmental preservation.
Q. What is an enjoyable part of your job?
A. Seeing people be their truest selves.
Q. What are some career highlights?
A. Seeing the change and growth in the children that come before this court.
Q. What is your dream job?
A. Interior decorating.
Q. What college/university did you go to?
A.   I studied dance at Wayne State Center for Creative Studies but did not complete.
Q. What's a little-known fact you're willing to share?
A. I am horrible at math.


Expungement Fair Volunteers

Mediation Training

"Best Chance With Judge Nance Radio Show"

Judge Mariam Bazzi, Judge Prentis Edwards and Director of Jury Services Yvette Blackmon were guests on the Best Chance with Judge Nance Show. The segment was Jury Service/It's your Civic Duty. The discussion included the importance of jury duty, what to do if you receive a summons, what happens if you cannot appear and who is eligible for an excusal or exemption and the voir dire process. The show aired at 6:00 p.m. on 910AM radio on Saturday, April 20
th2019. The show also aired on social media and has been shared on the Third Circuit Court's social media platform at
Listeners called and voiced their opinions about the summons and the jury process. Yvette Blackmon explained the jury process and how jurors are selected for service.   Judge Bazzi and Judge Edwards followed up with what happens once the jurors are sent to a courtroom.
Judge Nance also shared her experience when she sat as a juror. The show concluded with giving the message that jury service is an important duty that we should not ignore. We often do not realize the importance of serving until we or a loved one is in a situation where we need our fellow citizens to do their civic duty.

The Friend of the Court (FOC) and Focus: HOPE developed a partnership to connect child support services with workforce development and education programs in the community.
Focus: HOPE is a community service agency committed to overcoming racism, poverty and injustice by providing job training programs, early learning services, food services for low income seniors, and advocacy for the community. Job training programs include: Robotics Technician, Welding Technician, Hi-Lo/Forklift Operator, Production Operator, CDL Truck Driver, Logistic Careers, and Industrial Design Technician. Students are assigned a Case Manager and receive supportive services such as: onsite affordable child care, DHHS, transportation, and clothing assistance. Focus: HOPE also serves as a referral source for the FOC's POWER (Providing Opportunities for Work, Education and Responsibility) Court Program. Non-custodial parents are referred for job training to assist with obtaining employment and paying their child support obligation.
The outreach event is held on the 4th Wednesday of each month (except December) at 1360 Oakman Blvd. in Detroit. A FOC representative is available to provide case specific information by remotely accessing the Michigan Child Support Enforcement System. FOC Staff also provides motion forms, explains policies and procedures of the court, and provides referrals for legal assistance. Through this collaboration we strive to provide information, resources, and accessibility to the families we serve.


On Thursday, April 25, 2019, the Friend of the Court hosted a Bring Your Child to Work Day event for its employees. Sixteen children, along with their parent or legal guardian, participated in the daylong event. This year the theme was Harry Potter. In the morning, the children were sorted into the different houses - Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Syltherin, and Hufflepuff, by drawing pencils out of a sorting hat as an icebreaker activity. Appointed Jury Commissioner Bonnie Leone talked to the children about jury services for Third Circuit Court. Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny spoke with the children and presented them with certificates of participation in the Bring Your Child to Work Day event. The children then participated in two mock trials, the State v. Harry Potter, playing the roles of judge, clerk, sheriff, prosecutor, defense attorney, defendant, witnesses, and the jury. In the first trial, Harry Potter was on trial for assault against Draco Malfoy for using his wand to turn Draco into a ferret. Harry Potter was found not guilty by the jury. In the second trial, Harry Potter was on trial for second-degree murder of Professor Quirrel. This time he was found guilty. At lunchtime the kids ate pizza and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the afternoon, the children enjoyed snacks and played two games of Family Feud - a Harry Potter and a Disney version. We look forward to the next Bring Your Child to Work Day on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

The Third Circuit Court Diversity and Inclusion Team's Mission: 
"We recognize our common background and respect our unique human experiences. We move forward as an inclusive organization, community and society."
The Court's Diversity & Inclusion Team strives to ensure the values of its diverse bench, staff, and court users are acknowledged and reflected in our delivery of service as well as our work environment.
In that spirit, the team creates and shares a monthly list of various holidays and observations along with some celebration suggestions. We invite our work community and the community at large
to contribute.

May 2019

Asian Pacific Heritage Month
 Jewish American Heritage Month
Cinco de Mayo   May 5th
 Memorial Day   May 27th

Yellow Stripes

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This month we had staff trainings, started our compensation study, embarked upon tough conversations about juvenile justice, and met to share our progress on our 2019 Strategic Plan Projects. We are not mid-year yet, but we have been busy.  Overall we are progressing toward our goal of becoming a model court. What does that mean? It means equal access and timely resolution of disputes. It means engaged staff who receive competitive wages and benefits. It also means the values of fairness, collaboration, and inclusion are pervasive in our organization and in our dealings. Becoming a model court requires concerted effort at every level in our organization and the support of our stakeholders and partners. We highlight our successes and acknowledge there is still work to be done. Can we count on you? Our success demands a collective effort of our judges, staff, stakeholders, and partners.

On May 4th, the Women Lawyers Association awarded Zenell Brown, Executive Court Administrator, with the Geraldine Bledsoe Ford Award at its annual conference in Traverse City. The Geraldine Bledsoe Ford awardee is someone who has shown commitment to promoting diversity for all people.

From left to right:
GS Ross Roel, REA Brittany Stewart, Judge Annette J. Berry, SAC Timothy Plancon, ASAC Kent Kleinschmidt

On March 27, 2019, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration invited Judge Annette J. Berry as an honored guest at their Women's History Month Program.
As the Keynote Speaker, Judge Berry spoke about the incredible progress women have made in her lifetime alone, stating there has been definite paradigm shift in the way our society perceives women. Women have not only broken into every field, they have pushed the boundaries of those fields into new territories. After last year's election women hold more government offices in Michigan than ever before. Even more, for the first time in history, the leaders of the Michigan Judges Association (MJA), the Michigan District Court Judges Association (MDJA), the Michigan Probate Judges Association (MPJA), and the Judicial Section Council (JSC) of the State Bar of Michigan, are all women. While this is an incredible achievement, Judge Berry expressed a desire for women to go even further, stating that we all need to extend more compassion and kindness to one another. In particular, women need to support one another and develop a sense of camaraderie. What is important is to come together and seek to lift one another up.

On May 8th, Third Circuit Court and the Detroit Bar Association held Law Day at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (CAYMC). Ten Detroit high schools attended the event where they heard Keynote Speaker Attorney Jeffrey Collins speak. After Mr. Collin's presentation, each school went to various courtrooms throughout CAYMC to participate in oral arguments on the right to free speech under the First Amendment within the context of a bullying situation in a high school. After argument, the students had lunch with the attorneys who trained them for the argument and the judge in the courtroom.

Strategic Plan Team Highlight
Digitize the Friend of the Court Record Room Team

The FOC Divisional Team - Digitize the Record Room, is comprised of Denise Fitzhugh and Jillian Fitzgerald, Co-Team Leaders; Judge Melissa Cox, Judge Sponsor; and Team members, Dawana Andrews, Cleveland Marshall, and Curtis Sims. Members not pictured are Judge Kathleen McCarthy and Erin Lincoln.
The FOC - Digitize the Record Room team has been engaged in a huge project to convert Friend of the Court paper files to digital format. The goals of this undertaking are to: 1) Eliminate the very labor intensive methods of retrieving stored records, thereby, improving ease of access by court staff; 2) Improve customer service through shortened turnaround times on requests for records; and 3) Better preserve files which were in various stages of decay in their paper form.
At the onset on this project, the FOC had over 231,000 paper files in two locations. The FOC project team began by targeting 170,000 paternity, family support, and interstate files of which it is the keeper of the record for digitizing. Additionally, there were approximately 3 million pages of case-related loose documents (called pleadings) which also required conversion to digital format. Excluding files in which the County Clerk is the keeper of the record, and those which are eligible for destruction under SCAO guidelines, the FOC, ultimately, focused on 135,000 files and the 1,100 boxes of pleadings for digitization.
The Project Team knew that this project would be a carryover from the first year of the Strategic Plan. However, there were very specific objectives to accomplish toward its goals in each year, with a detailed timeline for completion of the project. All of the first year objectives were met, and the team is on target for completion of second year objectives.
Currently, the FOC Project Team has shipped out to its vendor over 100,000 of the 135,000 files targeted in this project for scanning, and the files are being reviewed for quality assurance by the team, on a real-time basis, prior to being uploaded to the Court's Case Management System (Odyssey).
The team is excited that, in the foreseeable future, all Friend of the Court records will be accessed via computer. This will vastly increase efficiency, while improving customer service.

The 3rd Circuit Court Family Judges 
at the Michigan Judicial Conference.

Congratulations to Anna Wagus from William D. Ford Technical Center.  Anna is the first place winner in Third Circuit Court's 2018 Annual Report Cover Contest.

(L-R)  Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny, Anna Wagus, Teacher Mark Benglian, and Principal Jennifer LaDuke

Congratulations to Natalie Decker from William D. Ford Technical Center.  Natalie is the second place winner in Third Circuit Court's 2018 Annual Report Cover Contest.

Congratulations to Natalie Decker from William D. Ford Technical Center.  Natalie is the second place winner in Third Circuit Court's 2018 Annual Report Cover Contest.

Congratulations to Destiny Smith from Southgate Anderson High School.  Destiny is the third place winner in Third Circuit Court's 2018 Annual Report Cover Contest.

(L-R)  Jackie McKay, teacher; Destiny Smith; and Superintendent Jill Pastor