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Judge Jacob James Cunningham was elected to the bench in November 2018. He currently presides over a family division docket. Prior to his election to the bench, Judge Cunningham was a judicial clerk for the Hon. Wendy Potts and a staff attorney for the Hon. Mary Ellen Brennan. He is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association. Judge Cunningham is also a member of the American Judges Association, Michigan Judges Association, Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers, Armenian American Bar Association, International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges, Eastern District of Michigan Federal Bar Association, Michigan Inter-Professional Association, and the Michigan ...
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Judge Shauna Dunnings was elected to the bench in 2018. She previously served as the circuit court administrator in the county, starting in 2013. In 2007, she became the Friend of the Court and deputy court administrator. In 2003, she became assistant Friend of the Court and attorney referee in Eaton County. She served as law clerk for Hon. Gordon J. Quist of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan for one year and was in private practice for 13 years. For attorneys who have never been to your court, what is your check-in process? Attorneys may come into the courtroom, and my law clerk or court recorder will check them in. If the ...
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​ Judge Monte J. Burmeister was elected to the bench in 2007 after engaging in general civil and criminal practice for 12 years. He is a graduate of the Trial Lawyers College and a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a past president of the Michigan Probate Judges Association and a commissioner on the Judicial Tenure Commission since 2013, serving as its chair in 2019 and 2020. He currently presides over a variety of cases, including criminal misdemeanors and civil cases under $25,000, felony preliminary examinations, decedent’s estates, child custody disputes, and abuse and neglect of children cases. For attorneys who have never been to your court, what is your ...
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The Hon. Charles S. Hegarty was appointed to the 3rd Circuit Court (Wayne County) in 2013 and was assigned to the Domestic Relations Section of the Family Division. Since January 2021, he has served in the Civil Division. He joined the court from Bodman PLC, where he spent 15 years litigating civil actions and represented clients in commercial, real estate, tort, and trusts and estates matters. In 2013, he was recognized as a Michigan “Super Lawyer” in Business Litigation. Judge Hegarty is a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Detroit Bar Association. Are you still using Zoom? If so, what types of matters/motions ...
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Judge Mariam Bazzi was appointed to the Wayne County Circuit Court in 2017 after working as an assistant prosecutor in Wayne County for more than eleven years. She currently handles criminal cases and oversees a Mental Health Court docket. An active member of her community, Judge Bazzi currently chairs the court’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. For attorneys who have never been to your court, what is your check-in process? If they're physically appearing in court, they would check in with the clerk and let the clerk know if their client is there. If they have another courtroom or another matter that they need to take care of, they should let the clerk ...
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The following is from our July 2020 interview of Judge Denenfeld. What are the main procedural changes in your courtroom due to COVID-19? We are only doing remote hearings now, but no trials. We use Zoom for most of our hearings and still do weekly block scheduling for our criminal cases. That means we have blocks of time for status conferences, which often result in plea agreements. We are a busy court, so we have many cases that are docketed for the same time. In criminal hearings, we use Zoom breakout rooms to enable defense attorneys to have privileged discussions with clients regarding plea offers. On the civil side, we are still hearing and deciding ...
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Karen Quinlan Valvo was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court bench by Governor Rick Snyder on January 5, 2016, and elected on November 8, 2016, to complete the term. She presides over criminal, traffic, and landlord-tenant cases and the specialized Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court dockets. We spoke to Judge Valvo in August of this year about changes in her courtroom in the wake of COVID-19. What are the main procedural changes in your courtroom due to COVID-19? The court is slowly reopening to the public, in accordance with a phased process established by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). Different courts are in different ...
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Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford joined the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2014. Judge Stafford previously worked at a private law firm, as a career law clerk for Judge Victoria A. Roberts, and as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Read Judge Stafford’s original Q&A from 2018 here . What are the main procedural changes in your courtroom due to COVID-19? The main change is that there are no proceedings in a physical courtroom right now; everything is done via Zoom. The courthouse remains closed to the public and court employees (including judicial officers) are teleworking for all duties except those that ...
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My colleagues and I recently spoke to three of the judges we previously interviewed for our Approaching the Bench blog series: Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judge Karen Quinlan Valvo of the 15 th District Court of Washtenaw County, and Judge Paul Denenfeld of Kent County Circuit Court. We wanted to check in to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their respective courtrooms. As expected, all of the judges had a lot to say about the biggest procedural change in response to COVID-19: Zoom hearings. Below are the judges’ thoughts on the most common mistakes attorneys make ...
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​ Hon. Kathleen M. McCarthy is presiding judge of the court's Family Domestic Division. She has served on the Wayne County Family Court bench since 2001 and was named the presiding judge in 2013. What advice do you have for attorneys navigating the new discovery rules? There have been many changes to the discovery rules effective January 1, 2020. Most notably, family law cases only allow 35 interrogatories to be served on the opposing party, unless increased with court permission. MCR 2.301(B)(4) requires the serving party to initiate discovery with enough time for a response to be submitted (usually 28 days), before the discovery cutoff ...
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Judge Zainab Baydoun is a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of Michigan, presiding over complex, multifaceted administrative hearings for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of Community and Health Systems. Cases may involve adoption subsidies and the Juvenile Guardianship Assistance Programs, Medicaid disability, eligibility trusts and divestment , state disability assistance, requests for expunction from Michigan’s Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry, and Child Welfare Licensing. For attorneys who have never been to your court, what is your check-in process? Most of my hearings are held at Cadillac Place in Detroit. ...
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Hon. Hala Y. Jarbou was appointed judge of the Oakland County Circuit Court in 2015, assigned to the civil/criminal division. Before her appointment to the bench, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015, and an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the office of the Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney, from 1997 to 2010. Judge Jarbou was the presiding judge (for males) of the Oakland County Circuit Court Adult Treatment Court from 2016 to 2018. A member of the Michigan Judges Association, she is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) as well as a member of its Character and Fitness Committee (District I), was ...
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Chief Judge Jennifer A. Mazzuchi was first elected to the Marquette County Circuit Court in 2008. After working for three years at a medical malpractice firm in metro Detroit, she returned to her hometown to work as a prosecutor for 12 years before taking the bench. Judge Mazzuchi currently handles criminal and family cases. What advice do you have for attorneys navigating the new discovery rules going into effect on January 1, 2020? For all new developments in the law, I recommend starting by reading the rules. I would also recommend reading the Civil Discovery Guidebook on the new discovery rules, which I just received from the State Bar. For attorneys ...
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Hon. Edward Ewell, Jr. was appointed to the court in August 2003. He served in the Criminal Division for eleven years, serving five years as presiding judge. For the past six years he has served in the Civil Division (four as a business court judge). Judge Ewell previously clerked for Hon. Damon J. Keith in the U.S. Court of Appeals. He was an associate at the law firm of Pepper, Hamilton, and Scheetz; a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office; and general counsel for Wayne County. Judge Ewell graduated from the University of Michigan and then pursued an MS from Atlanta University. He received his JD from Wayne State University Law School. What advice ...
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Judge Elizabeth L. Gleicher was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2007. Previously, she was an attorney in private practice for 27 years. She began her career at Goodman, Eden, Millender & Bedrosian in Detroit, and opened her own litigation practice in 1994. Judge Gleicher is an elected Fellow of the International Society of Barristers (2004) and the American College of Trial Lawyers (2005). She received the Respected Advocate Award from the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel in 2005 and the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award in 2001. Judge Gleicher has served on the faculty of ICLE and as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University ...
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Hon. Annette J. Berry was elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court bench in November 2000 and reelected in 2006, 2012, and 2018. Since 2013, Judge Berry has served in the Civil Division, after serving in the Criminal Division from 2001 to 2013. Judge Berry received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her JD from Michigan State University Law School, formerly the Detroit College of Law. In 1988 she joined the Office of the Michigan Attorney General after being appointed as an assistant attorney general by Frank J. Kelly. During her distinguished career with the Department of Attorney General, Judge Berry served as legal counsel for the ...
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Charlene M. Elder has served as a judge for the Wayne County Third Circuit Court since 2005. She currently sits in the Family Division of the court, handling a variety of domestic relations cases involving divorce, child custody, and personal protection matters. Judge Elder is one of three judges who helped initiate the Domestic Violence Prevention Court, designed to offer a wide range of services to victims of domestic violence who obtain personal protection orders against their perpetrators. When is your motion call? Wayne County motion call day is Friday; however, I will hear motions on other days of the week as well. The number of motions is different ...
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Hon. Lita Masini Popke has been a judge in Wayne County Circuit Court since 2000, with a combined docket of general civil and business court cases. Her prior service includes chief judge pro tem (2009-2013); executive committee (2005-2013, 2016-present); presiding judge, family division (2005-2007); and Mediation Tribunal Association board member. Judge Popke has also held various positions outside the court, including president of the Michigan Judges Association (MJA) (2013); cochair of the MJA civil and business law committee; member, Judicial Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2009-present); member of the Child Support Leadership Council by appointment ...
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Chief Judge Kathleen M. Brickley Van Buren County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Brickley is the chief judge of the Van Buren County courts. She was appointed to the 36th Circuit Court bench in 2012 and elected that year to a six-year term, serving in the criminal division. From 1990 to 2012, Judge Brickley was in private practice in Kalamazoo. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, chair of the Van Buren Community Corrections Advisory Board, cochair of the Michigan Judges Association Criminal Committee, and a member of the Michigan Judicial Institute Academic Advisory Committee, the Michigan Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee and Policy ...
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Hon. Joseph J. Farah practiced law for 18 years before being appointed to the Genesee County Circuit Court in 1998. He was originally assigned to the Family Division, handling domestic and juvenile cases until 2005, and is currently assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division. Along with being a member of the judiciary, Judge Farah has taught a dozen law school classes concerning the law of evidence and has been a regular presenter to lawyers and judges concerning evidence and many other topics in and outside of Michigan. He is a former board member of the Michigan Judges Association, the Michigan Board of Law Examiners, and other groups. Q ...
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