January 2024 Newsletter - Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan

From the Chief’s Desk

Dear Third Circuit Team,

Welcome to a New Year for our Court Team!

First, let me thank all of you for your hard work and loyalty in 2023. I feel so very fortunate to have so many dedicated people to work beside who value our service to our community and our great reputation as a Court that is truly dedicated to service and justice.

2024 will bring enormous changes to our Court. Our big move to the new Criminal Justice Center is slated for this May. We will see many changes in our leadership team, strategic planning process and improvements in efficiencies, technology, and public information communication. We are dedicated to continue our efforts to improve workplace conditions, security, and salaries. 

Our goal is to enlist your help, ideas, and to answer your questions and/or concerns. I have been in a place and time where I did not share an idea or concern I had in a workplace. I wish I had shared and this year, I wish you will share. 

Please email me directly at Patricia.Fresard@3rdc.org. 


Honorable Patricia Perez Fresard

Third Judicial Circuit Court’s Adult Specialty Court Services Department and

The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN)

Host Their Annual Holiday Relapse Prevention Forum



On Thursday, December 7, 2023, The Adult Specialty Court Services Department in conjunction with DWIHN, hosted its annual relapse prevention forum for participants in Drug/DWI Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Court.


Twenty-five active participants attended the holiday event hosted by Michigan State University -Detroit Center Campus.


The forum had four panelists which included community partners Geoffrey Devereaux, the founder and owner of No Veteran Left Behind; Gregory Lindsey, the Treatment Service Administrator for DWIHN SUD department; and Amy Buchanan, a former school administrator who suffered with her addiction in the public eye, who works closely with Rivers Bend to support others in recovery.


The panel shared their personal and/or clinical experience in this arena to empower participants to recognize their triggers and how to avoid them.


Participants had access to resource tables from Families Against Narcotics—Western Wayne Chapter, DWIHN, and the Veterans Administration Vet Center—Detroit.


The forum was followed by a lovely holiday luncheon sponsored by DWHIN.


Thank you to the Court’s Administration, DWIHN, MSU-Detroit, the Specialty Court Services team, and to all of the Court’s community partners for making this event a success.

Pictured (left to right): Specialty Court Services Team members (Case Manager Brian Askew, VTC Coordinator John Marra, MCH Coordinator Charlina Hamilton, Case Manager Nicole McKee (back row) and Manager Yvonne Barnett Greene);

DWIHN SUD Case Manager Davon Jones and team; and Families Against Narcotics resource table, manned by FAN Western Wayne President Lauren Rousseau (not pictured).

Theresa Mack will retire after 31 years of dedicated service to the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan and her official retirement is effective January 1, 2024. Theresa has served most of her tenure in the Accounts Payable Unit within the Budget and Finance Department. She is a great asset to the Court and will be truly missed. Her favorite activities outside of the Court are gardening, landscaping and decorating. She’s also the parent of 4 cats, all boys! We wish her well in her new journey of retirement!

Pictured below: Budget & Finance Dept.

Pictured from left to right:

ECA Frank Hardester, Theresa Mack,

and CFO Lyn Roberts

Pictured from left to right:

Theresa Mack and Beverly Otis

Welcome Georgette Passmore as the new Manager of Assigned Counsel Services Department in the Family Division- Juvenile Section. Georgette has an AA Degree in Business Administrations from Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) and a BS Degree in Business Administrations (Management) from Wayne State University. Georgette has been employed with the Third Circuit Court for 26 years and has held various positions within the Adoptions Department, Friend of the Court, and the STATUS Department.


During her free time Georgette loves singing, baking, taking photographs, and spending time with her grandchildren. She finds her most enjoyment in her yearly family trips and well needed girls’ trip!


Georgette’s extensive experience will help to lead the Assigned Counsel Services Department in delivering quality public service.

FOC Referees Participate in Family Law Task Force Panel Discussion


Friend of the Court Referees Alicia M. Bianchi and Lauren Wright Middleton participated on a panel for the Michigan Poverty Law Program Family Law Task Force December 2023 meeting. The Family Law Task Force is comprised of legal aid attorneys throughout the State of Michigan. The Referees presented on domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and mental health and presenting effective evidence to the court.

FOC End of Year Celebration


The Friend of the Court staff celebrated the end of 2023 with a week full of food, fun, and festivities. Each day of the week staff were encouraged to wear designated apparel – school spirit, team spirit, mismatch, color block, and ugly sweater. Each day there were three random raffle drawings for gift card prizes from The Giving Tree. Staff joined together for “Reindeer Games” in the lunch room playing Trivia and Bingo. There was a decorating contest where the individual departments decorated a cubicle in a Winter Wonderland theme to win a department lunch. The winner was the Information Services Department Enforcement Unit lead by supervisor, LaShan Bradley, and her staff – Tonya Allen, Betty Davis, Howard Day, Vickie Huguley, and Tylynn Puller. And always a favorite was the ugly sweater contest. The top three ugly sweater winners this year were Kimberly Lewis (first place), Jonn Walinske (second place), and Maceo Talley (third place). 


A special thanks to the Family Domestic Judges for their generous sponsorship of this event in recognition and appreciation of all the hard work the staff at the Friend of the Court do all year long. 


Thank you to all of our staff for your passion and loyal service to the families of Wayne County. The work you do is important and truly makes a difference in the lives of children. We wish you all a joyous holiday season and a restful, well-deserved break!

Cubicle Decorating Contest Winner

ISD Enforcement in Blue (above)

Case Establishment in Green (above)

Legal in Red (above)

Order Entry in Red (above)

Pictured left to right: Chief Referee Stephanie Witucki, Jacinta Dill, Sgt. Jon Godre, Howard Day, Lilly Wegrecki, Yolanda Houston, LaShan Bradley, and Jillian Fitzgerald

Pictured left to right: Lori Kaczmarek, Tom Smellie, and Erin Lincoln

Pictured left to right: Referee Dan Ferency, Referee Alicia Bianchi, Presiding Judge Melissa Cox

Pictured below left to right: Erin Lincoln, Referee Dan Ferency, ECA Frank Hardester, Judge Susan Dabaja

Ugly Sweater Contest Winners


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.


January 1 - Kwanzaa Last Day, New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)

January 2 - Perihelion

January 3 - National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

January 4 - World Braille Day

January 6 - Epiphany (Día de Los Reyes Magos)

January 7 - Orthodox Christmas

January 9 - Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

January 10 - Houseplant Appreciation Day

January 11 - Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January 13 - Korean American Day

January 14 - Orthodox New Year

January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 19 - National Popcorn Day

January 20 - National Cheese Lovers Day

January 24 - Tu Bishvat (Jewish)

January 25 - Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)

January 27 - Int’l Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 29 - National Puzzle Day

January 30 - National Croissant Day

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