Probate judge to retire

By John Raffel
Correspondent

Area probate judge Marco Menezes will be saying goodbye to the court when he retires from the position on Sept 30.

Menezes is the probate and family court judge for Osceola and Mecosta counties and has served in that position since December 2009 when he was appointed by then Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Judge Marco Menezes

Judge Marco Menezes

“I had set the age of 67 as a good time for retirement in my mind and it’s been there for quite some time,” Menezes said. “I turned 67 this month, so it’s time.”

After being appointed, Menezes had to run for election for the balance of his predecessor’s two years in Nov. 2010. Two years later, he ran for his own six-year term.

Gov. Rick Snyder will have to appoint a successor to Menezes.

“It was the first and only elective office that I’ve held,” he said. “I was an attorney in private practice about 22 years prior to being appointed to the bench. I had served as assistant prosecutor in Wexford County for about 10 years and then private practice after that. I left for practice of law at the time and worked as executive director for MOARC, a private nonprofit organization here in Osceola and Mecosta counties.”

Then he went back to private practice with an office out of his home in Osceola County and was then appointed probate judge.
“The position is actually the probate judge,” Menezes said. “The family court judge is actually assigned. I’m the assigned judge of family court.”

He dealt with a variety of cases over the years.

“In family court, all the divorces involving children are on my docket,” Menezes said. “I’ve got all the child abuse and neglect cases filed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Adoptions and most anything that involves kids and families with kids would fall under the jurisdiction of family court.

“On the probate side, we’re dealing primarily with populations of people who need special attention, for example guardianships of incapacitated adults, guardianships of minors, guardianships of people with developmental disabilities. We also do all the estate work dealing with administration of trusts and probate of deceased estates. There’s a whole laundry list. When the legislature got around to setting jurisdiction of different courts, it seems like all the stuff they had leftover that needed a judge got appointed to the probate plate. There’s a whole bunch of other little duties like serving on the election commission for the county, and presiding over recall petitions and many other smaller items that require judicial attention.”

Menezes ran into various cases during his years of service.

“We have a bunch of interesting matters that come before the court from time to time,” Menezes said. “I hesitate to get into the facts of them. Anytime we get into anything new, and that’s happened in the 6 ½ years I’ve been on the bench, I’ve had to look at a number different questions where there were no specific answers under existing law.

“We made some law over that period of time. It’s case law where some interpretation of the statute is required and there’s no precedence for that interpretation. For the most part, all of the opinions I’ve written have been upheld by the courts of appeal where they’ve up on appeal. It’s been interesting.”

When he retires, Menezes is set to take some time off without making any plans.

“For the first six months or so, I’m not looking on doing anything other than catching up on projects around the house and things I’ve been putting off,” he said. “I look forward to spending time with my wife and traveling a little bit. I’ve got two young grandchildren who live down the driveway from me who are 3 and 6 years old and am looking at spending time with them while they’re still interesting in spending time with their grandfather.”

Menezes has told local courts that after six months, he would be willing to serve as a visiting judge if someone is needed to fill in, in case someone gets ill or goes on vacation.

“We see a lot of cases that involve families in trouble for various reasons,” Menezes said. “The most rewarding aspect of the job is when you’re able to intervene in such cases and have a positive outcome. There are a number of those where the parents after being assisted through a rough patch in their life and are able to get their lives back in order and be reunified with their children and go on to have a good productive relationship as a family. Those are the cases we find rewarding.”



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One Response to Probate judge to retire

  1. Kent Giese Reply

    August 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    What a bunch of baloney from this horrible judge! This prejudiced, biased, and vindictive judge ruined my entire family through his bungling of my case. Good riddance! My children were kidnapped and he NOTHING. My entire finances were ruined when he refused to do his job and hear motions resulting in the loss of my house — that benefited no one but the mortgage company. My ex-wife was harmed through his ineptness as well, yet got away with kidnapping. He never had an interest in “reuniting” my family, and completely caused the destruction of my entire family. Menezes doesn’t follow law, has no respect for family rights, and provides no protections for victims of domestic violence. He encourages abusers, and facilitates abuse of the legal system. He acts like a hiring agency for other local lawyers. He didn’t personally like my lawyer, and conducted my hearings as personal attacks on my lawyer on a personal level. What a horrible person, who should be remembered for how bad of a judge he was, and nothing more. Glad to see this Democrat off the bench as he never should have been there in the first place due to his character flaws and lack of competence at fulfilling the duties of a judge.

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