Judicial Spotlight: Patricia P. Fresard, 3rd Circuit Court Civil Division

Patricia P. Fresard

  1. What has been your most memorable case (in practice and/or as a judge)?

    My most memorable case as an attorney was the successful prosecution of John Lomnicki. Mr. Lomnicki is a pedophile who had prevailed in deceit to the extent that he had been given free access to children in classrooms, head start programs and religious education programs for over thirty years prior to his conviction. The time in preparation was well worth the result.

    As a judge each case is most important at the time it is before the court. A judge's best work is done when every litigant and issue get top priority in it's time with an objective and patient process toward justice.

  2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
    I enjoy reading, painting, traveling, a vigorous workout and being out of doors as much as possible.
  3. Who was the most influential person in your life/profession?
    My father came from poverty in a remote country to become a highly esteemed neurologist. He along with my wonderful mother raised me and my four siblings to cherish the opportunities and freedoms that this country offers to its people.
  4. What’s the most unusual thing in your desk drawer?
    Candy to refill the candy plate that is regularly depleted during settlement conferences, and almonds to deter my eating the candy.
  5. What has been the most difficult decision you have had to make as a judge?
    The decision made in felony sentencing is never to be taken lightly or made without careful deliberation. Decisiveness on civil issues results from dedicated review of law and facts. Requisite of the process is identification and focus on key issues and consciously setting aside any personal preferences for a firm conviction of correct application in most cases.
  6. Do you have a pet peeve when on the bench?
    My pet peeve is lack of preparation. It is frustrating when attorneys explain total lack of knowledge of their case by explaining that they are covering for someone else.
  7. What advice would you give to litigants before you?
    I would advise to be prepared, prompt and professional.
  8. Do you have any advice for new lawyers or law students?
    I would advise new lawyers that they will find most attorneys to be kind and generous and that they should diligently seek mentors.
  9. Football, Hockey, Baseball or Basketball (or other)?
    Tiger stadium, enjoying the summer and its boys, the camaraderie, and the hotdogs and beer make baseball my favorite. As a participant I enjoy kickboxing.
  10. What is your favorite music?
    I love variety in music as well as most other things. I am passionate about the arts.
  11. How would you finish this sentence: “If I was no longer on the bench I would be…?”
    I would travel extensively, learning and sharing through painting, photography, and writing.
  12. What law school did you attend? Did you “enjoy” the experience and can you share your fondest memory?
    I attended Detroit College of Law. I was in awe of the opportunity to learn and of my professors and fellow students. Night classes especially were rich with experiences of professionals from all areas adding law degree to a wealth of experience and education.
  13. Before becoming a judge where did you practice?
    I practiced as an assistant prosecutor at Macomb County. I took full advantage of the many generous mentors available in that venue.
  14. How old where you when you had the worst hair cut ever and what style was it?
    I have very straight hair such that all mistakes are easily visible. I had the worst haircut ever until could afford to have someone other than my mother or sisters cut it. Come to think of it, most of the time I still have a fairly bad haircut.
  15. What was the hardest part of transitioning from law practice to being a judge?
    The hardest part of transitioning from lawyer to judge is the time that it takes to focus singularly on judging, no longer learning or teaching litigation technique.
  16. Do you take an active role in assisting parties in settlement discussions? Do you prefer independent facilitation/mediation?
    I take a very active role in assisting parties in settlement discussions. I am here to serve, both in the small number of cases that desire to avail themselves of the trial process as well as the larger number who indicate a desire for a strong and active consensus builder to assist in the resolution of the matter at hand.
  17. If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
    If I were an animal I would want to be a Macaw Parrot because they can talk as well as fly and they live to be about a hundred years old.
  18. Do you prefer attorneys to remain at the lectern in trials if they are speaking or questioning?
    I do not dictate or restrain the actions of an attorney in trial unless it is disruptive or otherwise interferes with court process.
  19. Without embarrassing anyone, do you have a memorable courtroom gaffe of yours or an attorney you can share?

    My biggest gaffe was my first day on the job. It actually directly violates my aforementioned pet peeve. I was asked by a senior attorney to cover his file on motion day on a purportedly simple issue of deferring to the representative of the Secretary of State on a driver restoration case. I did as asked, proud of my ability to memorize my line. "I tender to this most honorable court a certified copy of petitioners driving record and defer to Mr. Paul from the Secretary of State."

    Judge Bruff responded, "I should hope that Mr. Marlinga requires that his representative submit recommendation." I responded that our office would object to restoration. The strength of my recommendation was clearly undermined by lack of preparation.

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