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Press Release - Third Circuit Court Presiding Judges

Jan 17, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: Zenell B. Brown, Executive Court Administrator
(313) 224-2236
Subject: Introduction of the Third Circuit Court Chief Judge Pro Tempore and Presiding Judges


Detroit, MI – The Chief Judge under Michigan Court Rule 8.100 shall select a Chief Judge Pro Tempore and a Presiding Judge of any division of the trial court. Chief Judge Kenny is pleased to introduce his selection for Chief Judge Pro Tempore and Presiding Judges:

Chief Judge Pro Tempore Patricia Perez Fresard has served as a Wayne County Circuit Court Judge since 1999. Judge Fresard began her judicial career as Felony Trial Court Judge and initial Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division’s Drug Court. She presided over hundreds of criminal felony trials including murder, rape, carjacking, drug, and firearm charges.

Judge Fresard was accepted by bid to the Civil Division in 2012 and selected by Chief Judge Colombo as Presiding Judge of the Civil Division in 2016. For 2019, Judge Fresard continues service as Presiding Judge of our Civil Division.

Judge Prentis Edwards, Jr. is the Presiding Judge of Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court Criminal Division. He was appointed to the Third Circuit Court in August of 2017. He previously served as Chief Judge Pro Tem on the 36th District Court in Detroit.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Edwards was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office where he served in the Special Operations Community Prosecution Unit and Trials Division, prosecuting a variety of complex and serious crimes. He also worked as a policy analyst and legislative aide in the Michigan State House, Senate, Detroit City Council, and as an attorney for the Detroit Public Schools, respectively.

Judge Edwards serves on the Detroit Bar Association Foundation (Board of Trustees), is a member of the Wolverine Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges of Michigan, the Charles H. Wright Museum, NAACP Detroit Chapter, and previously a member of the State Bar of Michigan Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee.

Judge Edwards is a graduate of Renaissance High School, Michigan State University, Eli Broad School of Business, and Western Michigan University-Thomas Cooley Law School.

Judge Edward J. Joseph is the Presiding Judge of Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court Family-Juvenile Division. Judge Joseph has served on the Third Judicial Circuit Court since 2014. He is presently assigned to the Court’s Family Division-Juvenile Section, overseeing cases involving child abuse, neglect, custody and juvenile delinquency, along with adoption matters. Under Judge Joseph’s direction, the Third Circuit Court’s Juvenile Mental Health Court Program commenced in 2016. The program now has in excess of 30 participants, and provides eligible youth and their families with a full range of in-home
services, along with weekly court supervision. Judge Joseph also chairs the Third Circuit Court’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) committee, which directs specialized therapy toward children who have experienced trauma.

Judge Joseph serves on the Child’s Hope board of directors, for the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Wayne County. He is also a board member of the Human Services Community Collaborative, which provides direction for the provision of mental health, public health and educational services throughout Wayne County. Judge Joseph also serves on the City of Detroit’s Mental Health Task Force with stakeholders from both Wayne County and Detroit.

Prior to serving on the Circuit Court bench, Judge Joseph was an attorney in private practice for 26 years. He served as a Special Assistant Attorney General, and as a Wayne County Public Administrator. Judge Joseph graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in business administration, and received his Jurist Doctor from Wayne State University Law School. H e was inducted into the Order of the Coif upon graduation.

Judge Kathleen M. McCarthy is the Presiding Judge of Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court Family-Domestic Relations Division. Judge McCarthy has served on the Wayne County Family Court Bench since 2001, and was named the Presiding Judge in 2013. She was recently presented with a 15 Years of Judicial Service commendation from the State Bar of Michigan’s Family Law Section.

As an adjunct professor, Judge McCarthy has taught the Family Law and Law Firm Program courses at the University Detroit Mercy Law School since 2011. In addition, she has taught around the country from 2001 – 2015 for the Institute of Certified Divorce Financial Planners. A lifelong resident of the Detroit area, Judge McCarthy earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctorate from the Detroit College of Law.

Judge McCarthy is an active speaker on issues involving family law having presented at AAML, ICLE, the Michigan Inter-Professional Association (MIPA), Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference, and MJI conferences over the past decade. She is past president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association and the Dearborn Bar Association. Among other positions of leadership, Judge McCarthy sits on the Executive Board of the Court, the Board of the Mediation Tribunal Association, the Board of the Furniture Bank of Southeast Michigan, the Wayne Mediation Center Board, the Board of the Arab-American Civil Rights League, the Detroit Bar Association, and is a member of the MJI Leadership Team, Family Division Academic Advisory Committee (AAC), and Mentor team.

The Mission of Third Judicial Circuit Court is to provide accessible and equal justice with timely dispute resolution. The Court has 58 judges and over 500 staff. The Court receives approximately 60,000 new filings each year.

To learn more about the Court, visit its website at www.3rdcc.org, follow the Court at
Twitter@3rdccorg, and like them on Facebook @3rdccorg

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