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Q&A with Judge Bridget Mary Hathaway, 3rd Circuit Court (Wayne County)

By Rebekah Page-Gourley posted 22 days ago


Hon. Bridget Mary Hathaway was elected to the bench on November 6, 2018. She is assigned to the Wayne County Circuit Court’s criminal division. Before her election to the bench, Judge Hathaway worked in private practice at Flood Law and Bodman PLC.

For attorneys who have never been to your court, what is your check-in process?

For an attorney appearing in person, the attorney should first check in with my deputy who sits at the entrance to my courtroom. If I am on the record at the time, the attorney should wait until the matter concludes before they approach the clerk to check in with her and speak to her about any issues, if any. For an attorney appearing on Zoom, the attorney will be admitted from the waiting room and checked in by my clerk or me. Attorneys can use the Zoom chat function to check in. 

When is your motion call? Are there a maximum number of motions heard during motion call?

I schedule the majority of complex motion hearings on Friday morning. I schedule the majority of motion hearings that require evidentiary hearings and witness testimony on Friday afternoon. Hearings on motions are also scheduled throughout the week as time permits.

Should proposed orders be submitted to the clerk before argument? Do you expect orders to be drafted in court and, if so, are there computers for drafting them?

No. My clerk prepares the majority of orders following motion hearings.

How should stipulated orders be submitted? 

Stipulated orders should be submitted through OnBase.

Who makes up your judicial staff and what roles do they play?

My staff is comprised of my clerk, my judicial law clerk, and two sheriff deputies. My clerk is responsible for running my docket and scheduling matters. My law clerk assists with legal research and with post-conviction motions and correspondence. Both my clerk and my judicial law clerk communicate with attorneys and the public regarding pending cases and other issues. The sheriff deputies bring over the in-custody defendants from the Wayne County Jail each morning and ensure the safety of everyone in the courtroom.

What types of pretrial conferences do you hold and what happens at them?

At a pretrial conference, if the parties are attempting to a reach a resolution, the court and counsel may discuss the offer from the prosecution, the applicable sentencing guideline range, and restitution, if any. If there is a trial upcoming, the court and counsel may discuss any outstanding discovery issues or issues regarding witnesses/exhibits/jury instructions.

What types of matters/motions are held via Zoom and which are held in person?

Arraignments, calendar conferences, and probation violation hearings are handled on Zoom.

What are some components of an argument (either in a brief or oral argument) that you find compelling or persuasive?

I read all briefs before a motion hearing. An attorney should not restate everything in the brief at the motion hearing. Rather, an attorney should focus their oral argument on the key points. Clear and concise writing and argument is compelling to me.

What procedural issues/disputes should be worked out between the parties before involving you?

As many as possible.

What are some common mistakes lawyers make in your courtroom, either while appearing in person or remotely?

When appearing on Zoom, it important to make sure you have a good Internet connection and that you are familiar with the Zoom technology. While appearing in person, it is important for attorneys to know that I do not have a court reporter but instead use Justice AV Solutions (JAVS) to digitally record all proceedings in my courtroom. If attorneys are talking at the same time, we cannot make a clear record.

What do you think is the most commonly misinterpreted court rule or rule of evidence? 


What is an example of a time a lawyer impressed you?

Civility is of the utmost importance in my courtroom. In a jury trial, when the defense attorney and prosecutor treat one another respectfully and professionally, the trial runs much more efficiently. Equally important and impressive to me is an attorney who is prepared, prompt, clear, and concise in their arguments, and respectful to my staff.

What is something interesting you do off the bench?

I enjoy spending time with my family and my dog.

Is there anything else you would like Michigan lawyers to know?

Thank you for taking the time to read this!