September 2022 Newsletter - Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan


Unbelievably, it is already September. Labor Day weekend symbolizes the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Fall marks Third Circuit Court’s emergence into the next phase of many activities such as ramping up the number of trials to address the backlog and to give people their day in court, the finalization of the plans to prepare for the opening of the new Criminal Justice Complex to increase public access and operational efficiency, and the formation of a team to start working on plans for the Civil Complex to bring the family division together. One family -One judge is more than an ideal; it’s a goal we are working to achieve. The fall activities are the harvest of the hard work of Third Circuit Court judges, staff, stakeholders, and partners who have a vision of justice that begins and ends with quality public service.

Third Circuit Court Congratulates James Heath,

88th President of the State Bar of Michigan

and the incoming officers for 2022-2023

The mission of the State Bar is to aid in promoting improvements in the administration of justice and advancements in jurisprudence, improving relations between the legal profession and the public, and promoting the interests of the legal profession in this state.

The Third Circuit Court currently has 58 judges and over 50 attorneys in various roles who are members of the State Bar and committed to the mission.




On September 23, 2022, Third Circuit’s Mental Health Court and Adult Drug Court held their joint Commencement Ceremony.


Attendees participated virtually, but their excitement for the graduates and their positive energy were felt as if the Ceremony was in person.


The Ceremony honored three successful graduates from the Mental Health Court; and five from the Drug Court.


The Ceremony was guided by Supervising Judges, Judge Mariam Bazzi and Judge Regina Thomas for Mental Health Court; and Judge Bridget Hathaway and Judge Chandra Baker for Drug Court.


The speaker, Drug Court participant, Ms. Campbell gave an inspiring story about her journey to recovery. She spoke about her trials and tribulations while in the program and the defining moments which led to her recovery and rediscovery of self through her artwork. She also spoke about how the birth of her son gave her life purpose again.


Congratulations to all of the graduates; job well done.


A special thank you to the many community partners, without whom the success of the two treatment courts would not be possible.




In September, Veterans Treatment Court celebrated the graduation of two participants. Both are members of the United States Marines. Dozens of court-wide and county-wide stakeholders attended the Ceremony which was conducted via Zoom. 


Judge Deborah A. Thomas is the Presiding Supervising Judge over Veterans Treatment Court. She was the catalyst for the Court beginning a Veterans Court Program; and has remained committed to the Program since 2013.


For those who may not know, The United States Marine Corps has a motto, “Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine.” That comes from Semper Fidelis, meaning always faithful. One of the graduates, Mr. Ward, provided remarks during the graduation, and his words aptly embodied the Marine Corps’ core values.


Thank you to our Veterans for their service to our country. It is our honor to give back to you by aiding in your recovery given all of the sacrifices you have made for each of us.


A special thank you to the many community partners, without whom the success of the Veterans Treatment Court would not be possible.



On September 19, 2022, the Third Circuit Court of Michigan announced the official transition of its formerly court-based program, Wayne County Court Appointed Special Advocates (Wayne County CASA), into a stand-alone 501(c)(3). This model change will allow Wayne County CASA to expand its funding opportunities, volunteer recruiting and training capacity to serve more children in need.

“We came to recognize that the needs of abused and neglected children in Wayne County were regrettably growing,” said Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny. “We decided that it would be best if the court stepped back, not stepped away, but step back and let very fine, dedicated, committed people take over and bring their strength and enthusiasm to expand our CASA outreach,” said Chief Judge Kenny.

Wayne County Commissioner, Jonathan C. Kinloch; Michigan State Representative, Stephanie A. Young; Michigan State Representative, Helena Scott; and Detroit School Board Member, Sherry J. Gay-Dagnogo attended the press conference to show their support, along with a group of Wayne County CASA volunteers, staff, and court dignitaries.

Wayne County CASA recruits, screens, trains, and supervises volunteer advocates to speak up in the court for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers provide children with stability and consistency in a time of instability and unfamiliarity. Wayne County CASA has been serving the Third Circuit Court for 25 years.

To learn more about Wayne County CASA, to volunteer as a CASA advocate, or to donate, please visit:

NEW Electronic Filing System for

Family Domestic Cases

On August 8, 2022, the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan launched a new electronic filing system for Family Domestic – Friend of the Court case filings. The system may be accessed on the Court’s website at The system is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The system is not available on evenings, weekends, or Court holidays. 

The Domestic Case Filings System may be used for filings on the following case types:

·      DC – Custody

·      DM – Divorce with minor child(ren)

·      DO – Divorce without minor child(ren)

·      DP – Paternity

·      DS – Family Support

·      DZ – Miscellaneous Family Domestic

·      NC – Name Change

Fee waivers may also be requested and obtained through the electronic filing system. 

Filings may still be submitted in person on Mondays and Thursdays only or by mail anytime.

Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny, Presiding Judge Melissa A. Cox, and Friend of the Court – Deputy Court Administrator Erin Lincoln met with community partners, stakeholders, and attorneys on August 31, 2022 to gather feedback on the new electronic filing system for domestic relations cases. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, commenting that the system is a safe and convenient way to file and is user friendly. 

More information and updates on the new electronic Domestic Case Filings System and other ways to file pleadings is available on the Court’s website at

The Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan is excited to announce the implementation of a new AI-based “ChatBot” Virtual Assistant application on its public website at


This new online user-assistance tool is designed to help users quickly gain access to exactly what they are looking for on the Third Circuit Court website.  


The Virtual Assistant system uses a complex, interactive, web-based process behind the scenes, but this results in a simple, easy-to-use set of questions and options that guides users and directs them very quickly to what they need.


The new Virtual Assistant can be used by all levels and types of website visitors from jury members, staff, attorneys, and judges. 

Reserve Your Spot

Third Circuit Court’s Historical Society was created in 2017 to research and preserve the history of the Court. We are looking for new members for 2023. If you have an interest in history and preserving Third Circuit Court’s history, please send an email to letting us know that you would like to join the Committee. The Historical Society meets quarterly and volunteer staff and judge members have worked on projects such as portrait unveilings, writing articles for the Court newsletters and other legal publications on court history and judges, and submitting nominations for judges to be acknowledged.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

There is an average of 123 suicides each day in this country. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading for ages 15-24. In order to create awareness and strengthen the fight against suicide, the entire month of September is Suicide Prevention Month.

Society has become more open and receptive to discussions and conversations on suicide and mental health in general. However, there is still a stigma surrounding it. It is important to continue to spread awareness and openly discuss mental health and suicide prevention in order to reduce the stigma and save lives. 

Suicidal thoughts can plague anyone regardless of age, gender, or social status. It is important to access help when needed. Potential warning signs and ways to access assistance are listed below from the National Institute of Health. Assistance is also available locally through providers within the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network by calling their Access Center at 800-241-4949.


Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives. Learn about behaviors that may be a sign that someone is thinking about suicide. For more information, visit #shareNIMH


The Third Circuit Court Diversity and Inclusion Team’s Mission: "We appreciate our common connection and respect our diverse and unique human experiences. We move forward as an inclusive organization as we provide accessible and equal justice."

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.


International Day of Older Person - October 1     

Int’l Day of Non-Violence  - October 2

Yom Kippur Begins. - October 4

World Teachers’ Day  - October 5

German-American Day - October 6

Sukkot Begins - October 9

World Mental Health Day - October 10

Columbus Day - October 10

Indigenous People’s Day  - October 10

National Farmers Day  - October 12

National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day - October 15

Black Poetry Day - October 17

Pronouns Day - October 19

LGBTQ+ Spirit Day - October 20

Diwali- October 24

World Stroke Day  - October 29

Halloween - October 31

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