See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Bench change 

Effective Jan. 1, Virgil C. Smith Jr. will be the new chief judge at Wayne County Circuit Court, the third chief judge in as many years. The Michigan Supreme Court appointed Smith to the spot last month, replacing Chief Judge William Giovan, who's retiring. He praised his successor.

"He has vigorously responded to the challenge and difficult times since being named, and I know he will do everything in his power to continue," Giovan says.

Giovan filed suit against Wayne County, seeking a freeze of the 2007-2008 budget. County Executive Robert Ficano had proposed 10 percent reductions from all county departments and suggested the court eliminate 241 of its 831 positions in addition to other cuts.

"The vast size of the fiscal year 2008-2009 reductions approved by the County are a clear attack on the ability of the Court, as a separate branch of government, to maintain proper security of its courtrooms, juries, litigants and the public," the suit reads.

Citing a busy docket, Smith declined an interview request.

Smith, 61, was born in Detroit and attended Pershing High School before earning an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Wayne State. He spent 12 years as a state representative, serving the 10th district and was elected to the state Senate in 1988. He's been voted legislator of the year by the Michigan Judges Association and the Michigan Police Officers Association.

In 2004, he was the chief of legislation, grants and community relations for the Wayne County Prosecutor's office when Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed him to fill a vacancy at Wayne County Circuit Court. Voters kept Smith on the bench in the 2006 election.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him 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.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit