Spotlight shines on judges who are 'driving change'

The Michigan Supreme Court recently released “Michigan’s Judiciary Success Stories: How Michigan Judges Are Driving Change.”

The 28-page booklet profiles 12 Michigan trial court judges who are leading efforts to measure and report on court performance, to implement technology to increase efficiency and access and to reengineer court processes to streamline operationsand save money.

Some highlights:

• Reunifying Families is How Judge Dobrich Measures Performance — Chief Judge Susan Dobrich of 43rd District Court in Cass County highlighted the overall success rate of 62 percent in reunifying families that participate in Family Treatment Court. Because success was documented, the program received additional funding.

• Judge Kelly Is Using Technology to Serve the Court and the Community — Chief Judge William Kelly with 62B District Court in Kentwood puts technology to work in his courtroom for video arraignments, advice of rights (in four different languages), jury instructions, obtaining qualified interpreters, sentencing, witness testimony and evidence presentation.

• How Do You Reengineer a Court? Judge Brickley Believes It Starts with Communication—When Chief Judge Kathleen Brickley of 36th Circuit Court in Van Buren County took office, she had major reengineering projects in mind to improve service, save money, and help her staff be more productive. To get the job done, she took a very hands-on approach, listening and responding to staff concerns, getting help from the State Court
Administrative Office (SCAO), and learning from mentors. 

• Judge Sullivan Wants to Help Courts Get Past Their Performance Measurement Anxieties — Judge Paul Sullivan of 17th Circuit Court in Kent County heads a SCAO committee of judges and court administrators working with Michigan trial courts to address and implement performance measurement. Sullivan says the committee’s successes, particularly in the area of public satisfaction, have given the judiciary more visibility and a “willing ear” among state leaders.

• Presiding over a Veterans Treatment Court Isn’t Just a Job; It’s an Adventure for Judge Bronson — As a Navy veteran himself, Judge Terrence Bronson of Monroe County Veterans Treatment Court is dedicated to helping local vets return to society as productive citizens and keeping them out of the criminal justice system by serving as a resource for those who suffer from service-related maladies.