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July 19, 2002 - Image 43

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-19

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Southeast Oakland County
will lose two judicial
veterans at the same time.






Special to The Jewish News


hat would they do to you in
Russia if you came into court
under these circumstances?"
Benjamin J. Friedman, a judge
of 45B District Court, poses the rhetorical
question to a young Soviet immigrant. The
man stands before him in the judge's Oak Park
courtroom on five criminal charges, including
shoplifting and drunk driving.
"They would probably send you off to some-
place in Siberia," Judge Friedman says, provid-
ing his own answer.
The judge postpones the man's hearing, but
warns that he'll be tough if there's a next time.
In an adjacent courtroom, a defendant is get-
ting a postponement from District Judge
Marvin F. Frankel.
"Judge," says the defendant, "if you were a
female, I'd kiss you."
Judge Frankel replies: "Don't kiss me or any-
one else around here. Just get yourself straight-
ened out."
-Later, Judge Friedman tells a probation viola-
tor who failed to follow the judge's orders:
"Don't waste the time of the people and this
court." He finds him guilty.
Then, mediating a domestic spat between a
couple married for 13 years, he admonishes,
"Why are we fooling around here? You obvi-
ously want to stay together ... let's get this
thing settled."
It's a typical day on the bench for the two
veteran jurists, who for 34 years have been dis-
pensing justice within the district comprised of
Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge
and Royal Oak Township. Both men have
earned reputations as being honest, fair, com-
passionate, knowledgeable and innovative.
But Judge Friedman, 71, and Judge Frankel,
69, who both live in Huntington Woods, will
reach the end of the line at the end of this year
when their current terms expire. Under
Michigan law, their jobs are age-restricted,
forcing mandatory retirement following the
term during which they turn 70. Judge
Frankel's birthday is Aug. 27.
The two judges began their careers in the
municipal court system. It changed in 1975 to
the state-run district court setup with six-year

Judges Benjamin Friedman and Marvin Frankel

Tough Judges

"They're a couple of no-nonsense, law-and-
order judges, and their retirements will be a




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