April / May 2020 Newsletter Headlines
Once In a Lifetime, If You Are Lucky
On any given day, at any given moment, every Supervisor or Manager can immediately name or recall their MODEL EMPLOYEE. Whether it was from a decade ago, or whether the person is down the hall at that precise moment - there is an incomparable set of characteristics that makes that employee shine in the workplace and makes it a pleasure to know them and work with them.
One never forgets nor can ever manage to express their gratitude sufficiently for the team member who constantly exceeds their expectations.
The Criminal Division has such an employee. Her name is Catherine Hammond. Cathy is extraordinary, and she is a Pretrial Services Specialist in the Pretrial Services Department. While her job duties and responsibilities are vast and wide-ranging, she is the Criminal Division's resident expert for L.E.I.N. matters. Cathy has an unparalleled passion for ensuring citizens are not victimized or lose their liberty based on any inaccuracies in the public record. There have been numerous occasions when Cathy has spent days clearing up a matter on behalf of a citizen which included having to contact several law enforcement agencies and public entities.
Cathy's passion and integrity extend far beyond her commitment to serve the public and her respect for those she assists. She can be relied upon to step in and provide leadership in any situation within the Department.
She is truly an ambassador to not only the Department, but the entire Criminal Division. Over the years, she has built strong and reliable networks within the Criminal Justice System. She is constantly being called upon by other agencies to resolve problems and has a reputation throughout the law enforcement community as someone who can be relied upon when assistance is needed.
During this Covid-19 crisis, Cathy has never wavered in her reliability and consistency. As other employees were being put in self-quarantine, she volunteered to work their shifts and ensure the continuity of the Department's operations. She even volunteered to assist Court Administration with answering the phones during the State of Emergency.
Every employer aspires to have exemplary, exceptional, and outstanding employees. Cathy Hammond is exactly that. She is a remarkable example of someone who is driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence. One who will always be remembered and appreciated for many, many years to come.
Thank you, Cathy. You are an incredible asset to Third Circuit Court.
Since June of 2019, Third Circuit Court, Wayne County Department of Health, Human and Veterans Services, Wayne State University Center for Behavioral Health and Justice in the School of Social Work, and Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) have worked collaboratively to develop a new juvenile justice approach which is intended to increase the number of youth who are diverted from the official docket and receive legal representation and services sooner in the process.
Attempts will be made for all youth who have a petition filed by the prosecutor to have a Youth Assessment Screening Instrument (YASI) completed prior to pretrial, completed by Clinic for Child Study. The YASI includes predictive risk for future court involvement, mental health concerns, adverse childhood experiences (ACES) items, as well as youth strengths. The assessments will provide an early opportunity to determine the juvenile's strengths, the risk of recidivism, as well as any needs for mental health and/or substance use treatment. Upon completion of the YASI, the results will be provided to assigned defense counsel so they can advocate on behalf of their client for diversion from the official docket. Clinic staff will also provide immediate referrals to the youth and family after the assessment for any needed services including but not limited to mental health services, substance use services, housing, and education assistance. In addition to the YASI, the GAIN assessment will be completed. The GAIN-Q3 is a brief screener used to identify and address a wide range of problems in clinical and general populations. It is designed for use by personnel in diverse settings (i.e. student assistance programs, health clinics, juvenile justice.)
Prior to pretrial, the results of the YASI will be provided to defense counsel in order to advocate for diversion on behalf of their client.
At disposition, the YASI assessment with treatment and dispositional recommendations will be made available to all parties, the jurist, defense counsel, and the prosecutor.
Upon the request of the jurist, a full social history and psychological battery including IQ, achievement, and personality testing will be conducted and provided in addition to the YASI results at the dispositional hearing.
All probationary and placement services will be provided by Care Management Organizations (CMOs) or residential providers under contract with Wayne County. Mental health and substance use services will be provided by DWIHN contracted providers or CMOs.
Prior to termination of probationary services, a post YASI will be completed in order to determine if the youth's risk for recidivism has been reduced and/or if additional services are needed.
Throughout the process Wayne State University will be working with all parties to evaluate the changes and determine if the intended outcomes have been achieved or adjustments to the system are needed.
Public Service Recognition Week
Public Service Recognition Week is celebrated May 3 - 9. Public Service Recognition Week honors the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees. "Michigan courts handle three million cases each year, treating everyone with dignity and respect and with a commitment to fairness, equal justice, and access for all," said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. "During this crisis, judges and court staff have shown the world what we already knew - Michigan's judiciary is a national leader in serving the public."
For Third Circuit Court, the judges and staff have ensured that justice is delivered for the families, businesses, and community of Wayne County. The last weeks have been challenging as the administrative team went from anticipated Zoom pilot in the Civil Division to implementing Zoom Courtwide within weeks, as staff ensured ongoing contact with youths and adults in our specialty court programs, and as the judges set up virtual courtrooms and handled emergency dockets.
Third Circuit Court judges and staff deserve a standing ovation!
The Mediation Tribunal Association (MTA) provides case evaluation services for Wayne County Circuit Court and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny issued an order (Order) on March 23, 2020 extending the scheduling dates for all civil cases to comport with the Governor's Executive Order(s) to Shelter in Place. Case evaluation dates under Judge Kenny's Order were extended out 60 days. However, several parties contacted MTA and advised that they were interested in using case evaluation as a tool to settle their cases during the court's closure. In response to those requests, the MTA has implemented remote hearings utilizing Zoom videoconferencing.
Remote hearings have provided the flexibility to replicate the amenities litigants would find in a traditional in-person case evaluation hearing room. The waiting rooms and breakout rooms provide parties with the ability to caucus and speak privately, while allowing parties to join the videoconference from their homes or offices. Additionally, since the MTA system is completely online, parties can still upload their summaries, receive their notices, view the evaluators, and receive their awards online. A new feature has also been added that provides a Zoom link on each case so the parties can check in to the videoconference directly from the MTA website.
A list of evaluators and mediators that have agreed to provide remote services is on the MTA website, www.mediationtribunal.org under Announcements. If parties would like to have their case evaluated or mediated remotely, please contact MTA's Executive Director, Lisa Timmons via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
On March 16, 2020, the Third Circuit Court suspended jury trials. The Court will prepare for resuming jury trials in mid-August. The Jury staff has been working remotely and onsite providing essential services. The staff continues to respond to jurors' email inquiries regarding postponements, excusals, and outstanding payment inquiries. The Jury phone line has an automated message advising anyone who has received a jury summons or a postcard notifying them to appear prior to August 17, 2020 will not be called for service. There is no additional action needed from those jurors.
Important Court Phone Numbers
The following phone numbers are offered should there be questions about available court services.
Juvenile Division - (313) 833-4777
Domestic Relations and FOC -
FOC payments - 1-844-785-7593
Criminal Division - (313) 224-2437
Civil and Case Processing -
Court Administration - (313) 224-5261
Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny -
Jury Service has been suspended until the week of August 17, 2020. If you have received a summons or a postcard advising to appear prior to August 17, 2020, you do not have to appear. If you have additional questions, please contact Jury Services at (313) 224-0244 and/or (313) 224-0667.
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We continue to work our way through this State of Emergency. On the bad days, our questions outnumber our answers. While some things like the delivery and disbursement of supplies don't happen quick enough, our losses are happening quickly and all around us. We mourn those who have departed from us. The bad days have not been easy.
We continue to search for light. And there have been good days, we hear that a fellow employee is recovering or that his exposure did not manifest into a Covid-19 diagnosis. We hope the darkness of the pandemic is lifting.
We continue to find more ways to provide justice without the risk of exposure to staff, partners, and the public. This addition of the newsletter is an update on some of the court operations. These operations involve and impact our judges, referees, employees, judicial partners, the legal community, court users, and the public.
With faith, hope, and courage, we press forward to provide essential services and are beginning to imagine and try to shape the days ahead. We appreciate and applaud those on the front lines of essential services. We hope that you and your family are safe and protected. We will get through today, tomorrow, and all of the next days together.
Judge Darnella D. Williams-Claybourne
Judge Darnella D. Williams-Claybourne was appointed to the Wayne County Third Circuit Court in March 2020 and is assigned to the Criminal Division.
Judge Williams-Claybourne previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Wayne County Executive's Office. In this role, she reviewed, approved, and executed contracts on behalf of the County Executive, worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel, and acted as the Freedom of Information Appellate Officer for the County. Additionally, she worked as a civil litigation attorney, served as General Counsel to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Currently, she is a professor at Wayne County Community College District. While earning her law degree, she also served as a police officer with the Detroit Police Department. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Wayne State University and her Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
IN MEMORY OF THOSE WE LOST
The saddest moments of the past three months have been times of our loss and grief. The pain was compounded by the fact that we did not have an opportunity to say proper goodbyes to those whom we have worked with and had become part of our daily lives. We express our condolences to their families. We also extend our sympathies and prayers to the families of our justice partners who have lost employees during this time as well.
Linda Brooks served the Court as a Clinical Case Manager - Clinic for Child Study at Family-Juvenile. Linda had worked for the court for 30 years.
Clida Ellison served the Court as a Forensic Family Clinician (Family-Domestic, Family Assessment, Mediation, and Education). Clida received her Bachelor of Science Degree in medical technology from Xavier University of New Orleans. She went on to earn her master's degree in social work. Clida had worked for the court for 22 years.
Sean McBride served the Court as an Information Specialist II in the Court Clerical Services Department of Family-Domestic. Sean had worked for the court for 31 years.
Gloria Smith, retired Court Reporter. Gloria had worked for the court for 30 years.
Hon. Robert L. Ziolkowski, retired Judge. Judge Ziolkowski retired in 2014. He served on the bench for 30 years in Wayne County Circuit Court, 36th District Court, and Detroit's Recorder's Court. He graduated from Detroit College of Law in 1970.
In order to facilitate court activity, the Third Judicial Circuit Court Judges and Referees have begun holding remote court proceedings via Zoom. The success of the virtual hearings requires that the jurist and participants have appropriate connections and a familiarity with Zoom.
For court participants such as attorneys and parties:
It is important that a Zoom meeting is opened ahead of time and everyone is familiarized with the settings. Before the first hearing, participants should test the audio and video of the mobile or computer devices. A fast hard-wired connection or excellent Wi-Fi signal strength are important. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are not usually strong enough for a quality connection. If possible, Zoom meetings should be attended in a location with a strong internet connection and good lighting.
After the necessary software or app is installed, participants can go to http://www.3rdcc.org/Zoom to find the link to the jurist's virtual hearing room. When entering the hearing, the participants will be placed in a waiting room. While in the waiting room, please test the audio and video configurations again and ensure the room is correct.
If someone is planning on attending via telephone with no video, they should obtain the meeting ID from the courtroom and use the phone number 646-558-8656.
The Zoom proceeding is an extension of the courtroom. Appropriate conduct and attire are required. Anyone violating the rules of courtroom etiquette may be removed from the session.
For the best Zoom hearing, the following is recommended: be aware of the background, what is behind you; mute yourself when you are not speaking to avoid background noise; and when you are not muted, avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as shuffling papers. When required by statute, the Court makes the official record of the proceeding. Noises can detract from a clear record.
When a confidential conversation is needed for attorneys, parties, and interpreters, the jurist is able to place the parties in a breakout room. There is no recording of the conversations that occur in the breakout room.
The Court will not provide technical assistance and will not provide time during the proceedings to troubleshoot issues.
Please follow the steps if an interpreter is required for a hearing: First, contact the courtroom. If no one is available in the courtroom, send the request to InterpreterRequest@3rdcc.org. Please include your name, the language you speak, the case number, the hearing date, and the judge's name in the request.
Friend of the Court Frequently Asked Questions
During the State of Emergency
Many people with Friend of the Court (FOC) cases have questions about FOC operations during the State of Emergency. Please see below for answers to many of these questions.
You may still access information about your case by:
- Calling the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) at (877) 543-2660
- Signing up for MiChildSupport online at www.michigan.gov/michildsupport to access case information or ask questions about your case
- Attorneys may leavea voicemail at (313) 224-5295 or email at email@example.com
You may make child support payments:
- Mail to the MiSDU, P.O. Box 30351, Lansing, MI 48909-7851
- Online at www.misdu.com or www.govpaynow.com
- Phone at (888) 604-7888
- Use PayNearMe
- Use MoneyGram
Civil Child Support Bench Warrants
You may take care of your civil child support bench warrant by paying the full bond amount at a law enforcement agency. You may also attempt to resolve your bench warrant by calling the Wayne County Sheriff's Department at (313) 224-4066.
Changing the Child Support Amount
Child support may be changed by filing a Motion to Change Child Support (FOC Form 4035). Michigan Compiled Law § 552.603 allows the Court to change support back to the date a motion is filed and served on the other party. Therefore, filing your motion as soon as possible will mean that any change in your child support may start earlier.
You may also request a Support Review through the Friend of the Court. This written request may be mailed to P.O. Box 829, Detroit, MI 48231 or emailed to EmergencyRevMod@3rdcc.org. The start date on this type of review would begin the first day of the month following the date a Notice of Support Review has been mailed to both parties. The Friend of the Court mails out the Notice of Support Review once it has worked your request. Please understand these review requests may take time to process due to the availability of staff and the volume of cases received for review during this time.
How to File a Motion during the State of Emergency
Instructions for filing during the State of Emergency may be found by clicking here.
Hearings during the State of Emergency
All Friend of the Court hearings between March 16, 2020 and April 30, 2020 are adjourned.
New notices will be sent to parties and attorneys of record when the Court resumes full operations. You do not need to contact the Court for a new hearing date, a new notice will be sent.
Parenting Time during the State of Emergency
Governor Whitmer signed the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order 2020-21 on March 23, 2020. Section 7(b) exempts transportation of children pursuant to a court order from the stay-at-home order. Parties should continue to follow the current custody and parenting time orders. We encourage parties to work together for the health, safety, and well-being of your child(ren) during this difficult time.
Many parenting time orders reference school breaks and summer vacations. Per the April 10, 2020 State Court Administrative Memorandum regarding Parenting Time and Child Support Issues under Executive Order 2020-35, the Wayne County Friend of the Court will enforce parenting time complaints based on the 2019/2020 school calendar.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) provides Americans with a cash stimulus of $1,200 per adult and $500 per qualifying child in the household. The stimulus payments are treated the same as tax refund. Because these stimulus payments are treated as a tax refund offset, the CARES Act does notprovide states the option to suspend federal tax refund offset in cases meeting criteria set forth in the Social Security Act and 45 CFR § 303.72. If you filed a joint income tax return, your spouse may file an Injured Spouse Claim to contest the stimulus intercept.
Extension of Child Support beyond age 18 during the State of Emergency
Both payers and payees have questions about if and how child support will be extended for children who have reached the age of 18, but were set to graduate this year, given the Governor's Executive Order closing schools. Pursuant to the State Court Administrative Office's April 10, 2020 Memorandum, the Wayne County Friend of the Court will handle these cases as follows:
- If the current support order extends support to a specific graduation date, support will continue to charge through that date, unless modified by a subsequent order.
If the current support order does not specifically extend support to the anticipated graduation date, support will stop charging as of the 1st of the month following the child's 18th birthday, unless the Friend of the Court receives verification from the child's high school attesting that:
- The child had a reasonable expectation of graduating prior to the school closure; and
- The graduation date pursuant to the original 2019/2020 school calendar, prior to the school closure.
If the verification is received with these items, support will be extended until the 1st of the month following the child's graduation date pursuant to the district's 2019/2020 school calendar.
- If support was extended to the graduation date based on verification from the high school prior to the State of Emergency, support will continue to be charged through the 1st of the month following the child's graduation date, unless stopped by court order.
If either party disagrees with the end date of support, they may file a motion before the referee.
More Child Support Questions
For more information on child support during the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.
The Juvenile Section continues to provide essential services to the children and families of Wayne County. The judges are conducting certain hearings and matters using Zoom technology. These include specialty court case conferences and hearings.
The Juvenile Section is working with its stakeholders to return children to their parents where that can safely be accomplished and de-escalating youth from congregate residential care and place them back into the homes of their parents where it was safe to do so.
The judges and staff of the Juvenile Section are lauded for taking such proactive steps to protect children and ensure public safety during these unusual times.
In the Civil Division, Presiding Judge Patricia Fresard meets weekly with fellow judges in the division to address providing essential and remote services. The Civil Division has published protocols to assist attorneys regarding remote operations. The protocol provisions include:
*Attorneys are encouraged to attempt resolution of issues through communication with each other and stipulations as much as possible.
*Attorneys may contact assigned judges' law clerks to inquire about the remote Settlement Conferences and Hearings.
*In the event an urgent issue arises in a case, attorneys may email the law clerks for the assigned Judge, and copy opposing counsel.
*For Emergency matters, attorneys may contact Case Processing for the Emergency Judge at 313-224-5255.
*Attorneys are encouraged to attempt facilitation, as several facilitators are working remotely.