November 2023 Newsletter - Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan

From the Chief’s Desk


Dear Third Circuit Team,



Happy November to you and yours!

This has been a good year so far for our court with much progress being made on our COVID backlogs, more on-site assistance for our litigants and a substantial increase in new hires. Our Administrative Team has been working diligently advocating for improved benefits and working conditions for all.

I hope that this year’s Holiday Season will bring you much joy with friends, colleagues, and family.

As we are known to be a great team of givers, our court has been asked to participate in a Coats for Kids Drive to assist the children in our community with new or gently used warm gear to get them through the next few cold months. If you can assist in this goal, please bring your donation to the 7th Floor Administrative Office as soon as possible.

As we look forward to the Holidays, I hope that your spirits remain bright and that you stay warm, safe, and productive.

Please know that I enjoy hearing from you and have received many good suggestions that have helped our progress and efficiency. Do not hesitate to reach out to me personally with any advice or suggestions that you may have for our court or to offer to participate in one of our many projects to meet the needs of those we serve.


Hon. Patricia Perez Fresard

Chief Judge

FOC Welcomes New (and Returning) Employees


The Friend of the Court recently onboarding eight new and two returning staff members. We are thrilled to have them join our team. Keep reading to learn more about them.


Darryl Bentley is an Information Specialist I in the FOC Scheduling Office. Darryl has an educational background in software development, specifically with iOS programs. He is also a CDL holder with years of experience in truck driving. Darryl’s hobbies include hanging out with family and friends. He dedicates the majority of his time to raising his 3-year-old son, Jaxon.


Morgan Dozier is an Information Specialist I in the Case Establishment Department. Morgan describes herself as outgoing and ambitious. She loves listening to all genres of music and tapping into her creative mind by creating works of art. She enjoys meeting and connecting with new people and learning something new every day.

Denitha Dean is an Information Specialist I in Document Processing. She came to the FOC after working in production for 17 years. She is very proud of herself. She’s enjoying learning new things and meeting new people here at the FOC. Denitha also enjoys spending time with her family. She loves doing arts and crafts and decorating for all events.

Betty Davis is an Information Specialist I in the Information Services Department. Betty returned to FOC after leaving in 2021. Betty is as joyful as ever and is motivated to work. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, cooking, and community work. Above all, she loves spending time with her grandson. At other times she likes to stay active by walking and sometimes bowling. She is looking forward to her tenure here at FOC and wishes everyone the best. 


Joya Campbell (yes, like the soup) is an Information Specialist I in the Information Services Department. Joya is happy to be a part of the Third Circuit Court. A majority of her experience has been working with people in some sort of capacity. Joya has a huge affinity for music and likes to wear headphones mentally singing along with Beyoncé and trying her hardest not to air guitar along to the one and only, Jimmy Page. In her spare time, she enjoys ingesting any sort of horror or horror-adjacent media, whether it’s horror movies, books or true crime documentaries. She claims to be a nerd at heart and will talk your ear off about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, or even Lord of the Rings! When not mourning the fictional death of a superhero (for the twelfth time) or binge-watching David Fincher or Tarantino films, she tries to find the time for self-care, be it spending time with her four brothers and four sisters, sitting with her 9-year-old Pomeranian whom she refers to as her “kid”, or something as simple as doing yoga or writing poetry. Joya is truly grateful for this opportunity and is happy to be here.


Cara Lee returns to the FOC as a Domestic Relations Specialist in the Case Establishment Department. Cara has been with the Court since 1999 and has worked in various departments within the FOC. She transferred to the Administration Division in 2012 working in the Budget and Finance Office. After receiving a promotion in August 2023, she says, "I am back ‘home’ at FOC which is completely different now since I left many years ago so, I guess you would say that I’m new.” Cara is excited to be back and is looking forward to learning her new job duties and responsibilities. In her leisure time, she enjoys cooking and spending quality time with her son, grandsons and family.


Victoria Glenn is an Information Specialist I in the Information Services Department. Victoria is a mother of 4, grandmother of 8, and has been married 8 years this November 15th. Victoria has been in the customer service field well over 20 years and enjoys working with people in-person or behind the scenes. Victoria plans on making a career out of her time with the Third Circuit Court, learning all she can, and moving up through promotions. She says she has a great lead in her supervisor, Paula Blackwell, showing her the way. And in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, vacationing, dancing, and outdoor activities, and now that she is in the heart of Detroit she plans on exploring everything downtown has to offer.


Angela Demps is an Information Specialist I in the Case Establishment Department. Angela grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She worked at, the financial arm of The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, for twenty years as a Retention Specialist. She loves all types of old school music and loves her family.


Jordan Officer is a Domestic Relations Specialist in the Information Services Department. Born and raised in the City of Detroit, he is the middle child of 7 siblings. In 2018, Jordan graduated from Michigan State University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in English. When not writing short stories, Jordan enjoys spending time with his friends and family in the city.


Julie DeGeorge is an Administrative Assistant to Chief Referee Stephanie Witucki. She is the youngest of eleven siblings, married with five kids and ten grandkids with two more on the way! She loves to travel with her youngest daughter’s competitive cheer team which keeps her busy from November to April. In her free time, she enjoys bargain shopping and spending time with family. She also loves to spend quality time with her husband watching football.

Pictured left to right: Darryl Bentley, Morgan Dozier, Denitha Dean, Betty Davis, Joya Campbell, Cara Lee, Victoria Glenn, Angela Demps, Jordan Officer

Pictured: Julie DeGeorge

Please welcome Karen Coley to the Budget & Finance Team as one of the team’s newest Accountant/Analyst. Karen began her employment with Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan in July 2023. She enjoys food and travel. In her spare time, she is a Citizen Archivist for the Smithsonian, which involves translating cursive historical documents and journals into text.

Please welcome Jaylen Lamar to the Accounts Payable Unit in Budget & Finance as one of the team’s newest Account Clerks. Jaylen has been in finance for the past three years. His finance background includes being a relationship banker and working in finance for the City of Detroit. Jaylen is a huge football fanatic and he loves to travel.

Please welcome Adrienne Rucker to the Budget & Finance Team as one of the team’s newest Payment Clerk in the Financial Services Unit. Before coming to the Court, Adrienne worked with children in the Detroit Public School Community District. Through both sides, Adrienne was able to witness the interactions between parents and their care for their children.

Amongst her hobbies of eating, reading and shopping, Adrienne hopes to one day do further advocation for children through nonprofit work.

Anton D. Brown

Please welcome Anton D. Brown to the Accounts Payable Unit in Budget & Finance as one of the team’s newest Account Clerks. Anton has worked within the Court for over 5 years now and comes from the Financial Service Unit where he helped process and facilitate child support payments. Before coming to the Court, Anton worked in retail for more than 11 years at Footlocker where he started off as a part time Sales Representative and ended his tenure as an Assistant Store Manager.

Anton is a Detroit native. He enjoys spending his free time reading, writing, and serving at his local church organization. Chinese food is one of his favorite foods as he enjoys dining in at the all you can eat buffets.

The Accounts Payable Unit is happy to have him as his previous skill set will help bring new creative ideas to the team.

Christian Turner

Please welcome Christian Turner to the Budget & Finance Team as one of the team’s newest Accountant/Analyst. Christian has a background in mortgages and financial planning and is extremely passionate about helping people create a life of financial freedom. She discovered her passion years ago while working as a banker. For the past six years, Christian has been dedicated to teaching people about real estate, investing, passive income and sustainability. After taking two years off of work to travel and teach, she’s excited to be joining the Budget & Finance Team to grow in her role and make great impact.

Third Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court Participates In

Southeast Michigan’s Veterans Stand Down


The Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) was invited to participate in the Veterans Stand Down at Fellowship Chapel in Detroit on October 11th and October 12th.


The Stand Down is a collaboration of events coordinated between local Veterans Administration Medical Centers, other government agencies, and community-based homeless service providers.


The event provided supplies and services to all Veterans in the tri-county area, but in particular to the homeless and disenfranchised Veterans. The event provided on-site resources for food, clothing, health screenings and VA/Social Security benefits counseling. Veterans were also able to receive referrals for other essential services such as health care, housing solutions, employment, substance use treatment, and mental health counseling.


Veterans Treatment Court Supervising Judge, Deborah A. Thomas, conducted an expungement forum where she provided updated information on the law and guidelines for applying. VTC Specialty Court Coordinator, John Marra, provided information regarding the VTC program and how the program can be accessed for those involved in the criminal justice system or if they know someone who is. John was also there to gather interest in the VTC Mentor Program which supports current veterans in the VTC program as they proceed through the judicial process.


The Wayne County Friend of the Court (FOC) was a guest as well. LaDonna Cato-Floyd, a Senior Domestic Relations Specialist in the Case Establishment Department, provided information on how to access FOC services, general case information, various motion packets, and a calendar of free self-help events.


This year’s event hosted close to 400 Veterans over the two-day event.


The VTC has participated in the Southeast Michigan Veterans Stand Down over the past nine years. The program looks forward to being of service to those who have given so much.

Pictured (l to r):  Retired 36th District Court Judge Leonia Lloyd, Southeast Michigan Stand Down Chair and Third Judicial Circuit Court VTC Supervising Judge Deborah A. Thomas

Pictured (l to r): VTC Specialty Court Coordinator, John Marra and FOC Senior Domestic Relations Specialist, LaDonna Cato-Flyod.

National Trial Advocacy Competition (NTAC)

The Jury Services along with Facilities assisted the National Trial Advocacy Competition (NTAC) in hosting a trial competition at the Coleman A. Young Center. The Trial Competition was held beginning Friday, October 20, 2023 from 4:30pm to 9:00pm where all contestants began the trials. The competition continued into Saturday, October 21, 2023 from 8:00am to 5:00pm and the competition concluded on Sunday, October 22, 2023 from 8:00am to 5:00pm with only the contestants that advanced to the final round of competition. Law students throughout the United States attended the weekend event. Judicial staff on both the 9th and 10th floors were kind enough to allow the program to use their courtrooms for the trials to offer the students the real-life experience in a courtroom setting. Our very own Judge Nicole Goodson, Judge Chandra Baker-Robinson, and Judge Karen Braxton were among the Judges that mentored the students. On behalf of the National Trial Advocacy NTAC, Jury Services, and Facilities Services, we thank all that made this event a great success.

Midwest Urban Jurisdiction Meeting


The Midwest Urban Jurisdiction Meeting was held on November 1st through the 3rd in Chicago. The meeting is a gathering of child support professionals serving an urban population. Representatives from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota were in attendance representing urban cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, South Bend, Gary, Muskegon, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, and Detroit. Erin Lincoln – Friend of the Court/Deputy Court Administrator and Jillian Fitzgerald – Assistant Friend of the Court/Legal Director attended on behalf of Wayne County Friend of the Court. 


The purpose of the meeting is to provide updates, share best practices, and collaborate on new ideas. Office of Child Support Services Commissioner Tangular Gray started the meeting with updates from the federal office. There were presentations on generational issues, the gig economy, and Department of Labor updates. There were also group discussions around staffing challenges, onboarding, and customer service. 

Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference


The 20th Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference was held on Wednesday, October 18th at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. The focus of this unique conference is the images and perceptions of diverse groups in media, schools, corporations, and government.


The conference began with a special performance by the Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel followed by several panel discussions. Third Circuit Chief Judge Patricia Perez Fresard was among the distinguished panelists. Session topics included a youth panel focused on students and our school systems; equitable and balanced justice for all; trust building in law enforcement; DEI in the media and Hollywood; and much more. The event also hosted a number of vendors providing culturally diverse products for purchase and information regarding medical care and other services. 


Nearly thirty Third Circuit Court employees were in attendance demonstrating their commitment to promoting diversity. 

Pictured left to right: Chief Judge Patricia Fresard, Secretary of State Chief Legal Director Michael Brady, Deputy Chief Attorney General Fadwa Hammoud, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist,

Professor Barb McQuade

Pictured: Third Circuit Court Employees

Pictured below: Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel


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.



December 1 – World AIDS Day

December 3 – International Day for People with Disabilities

December 3 – Advent

December 5 – International Volunteer Day

December 6 – Nat’l Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women

December 7 – Hanukkah begins at sunset (Jewish)

December 8 – Bodhi Day (Buddhist)

December 9 – International Genocide Prevention Day

December 10 – International Human Rights Day

December 16 – Las Posadas

December 18 – International Migrants Day

December 21 – Yule Winter Solstice (Pagan, Wiccan)

December 25 – Christmas (Christian)

December 26 – Kwanzaa week

December 26 – Boxing Day

December 31 – New Year’s Eve


Sources:  (Diversity for Social Impact) (Work Tango)  (Diversity

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