News & Views » Columns

On the bench

by

comment

At 70 years old, Wayne County Circuit Judge William Giovan is too old to seek re-election when his current term ends next year. But he can forget about easing into retirment.

Instead, the Michigan Supreme Court decided last week Giovan will become the new chief judge of Third Circuit Court.

"I did not seek the position and didn't expect to even be considered, but when they called me, I could hardly say no," says Giovan. "I still have a lot of ambition. I've been blessed with good health and in a way I feel like I'm just getting started."

A full-time judge since 1973, Giovan replaces embattled Chief Judge Mary Beth Kelly, who announced two weeks ago she wouldn't seek a fourth two-year term leading the state's largest circuit court. (See "Courting Controversy," MT, Nov. 7, 2007.)

Regarding reform, Giovan says the priority is clear: "The sore spot in the Wayne County Circuit Court for many years has been the operation of the Friend of the Court. The No. 1 problem over there is that they're severely understaffed. If you start off with that kind of an overwhelming, back-breaking caseload already, you're going to start with a lot of problems."

Giovan tells News Hits he'll meet with administrators and judges in the court's family division to boost efficiency at the Friend of the Court. Staff, he says, have already been offering advice.

Giovan was not a unanimous choice. Justice Michael Cavanagh wrote a dissenting opinion to the order suggesting Judge Robert Colombo should be named. Justices Elizabeth Weaver and Marilyn Kelly joined in the statement. Colombo also received a majority of votes in an unofficial election for chief judge held by Wayne County Circuit Court judges.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.