24th District Court
Liberty Bell Awards
Each year in May, the 24th District Court celebrates Law Day. This event allows students at local schools and members of the public to tour the courthouse and learn more about the criminal justice system. Various law enforcement agencies attend and provide informational displays as a public service. Participants over the past few years include the following organizations:
- Allen Park Fire Department
- Allen Park Police Department
- Allen Park Canine Unit
- Allen Park Motorcycle Unit
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
- Concord E.M.S.
- Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
- Downriver Swat Team
- Downriver Alcohol Narcotics Organization (D.R.A.N.O.)
- Elks-Allen Park Lodge 2194 with Drug Awareness
- Melvindale Police Department
- Melvindale Canine Unit
- Melvindale Bike Unit
- Melvindale Fire Department
- Michigan Military Police 1776th M.P. Company
- United States Customs/Border Protection
- United States Marines Corps.
- United States Navy
- United States Postal Inspectors
- Wayne County Mounted Police
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Mock Trials are held in the courtrooms during the Law Day celebration. Students from Allen Park, Inter-City Baptist, Melvindale, Academy of Business/Technology and St. Frances Cabrini High Schools act out the roles of judge, court reporter, attorney, plaintiff, defendant, witnesses and jurors.
Students from Inter-City Baptist, Melvindale High School, Allen Park High School and Academy of Business/Technology join in the Mock Trials. The High School students, assisted by local attorneys, put on an excellent display of theatrics and knowledge of the law.
In addition, middle school students participate in an essay competition. Past topics involved school dress codes, an analysis of a Supreme Court decision on due process for minors and a recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision on underage drinking in Canada. The topic for 2010 is "Law in the 21st Century". Winners receive a certificate of achievement as well as an Olympic-style medal. We received many excellent submissions, and the winners for the past three years are as follows:
Law Day 2007
|Law Day 2009||Law Day 2010|
|First Place||Heather Rowland||Caitlin LeRoux||Kelly Pettit|
|Second Place||Julie Haddix||Josh Abeare||Emma Fink|
|Third Place||Ariel Lassiter||Mike Williams||Olivia Fucinari|
Elementary school students also participate by creating posters, which are displayed throughout the court during Law Day.
|POSTER CONTEST WINNERS||
Law Day 2010
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Liberty Bell Awards
Each year, the 24th District Court recognizes outstanding members of the community during its Law Day celebration with the Liberty Bell Awards. This coveted award is presented by to individuals who have promoted a better understanding of the law and judicial system, stimulated a sense of civic responsibility or contributed to effective government. All of the winners receive an engraved plaque and a decorative lapel pin.
Law Day 2007 Liberty Bell Award Winners
Robert Bryan moved to Allen Park in 1954, where he attended North Junior High School and Allen Park High School. After graduation, Mr. Bryan was stationed in Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he served our country in the United States Army. During his service from 1964 to 1966, Mr. Bryan volunteered as a Boy Scout leader. After reestablishing residency in the City of Allen Park, Mr. Bryan has committed himself to making positive differences in the lives of young people. Although he worked for Ford Motor Company for 35 years, he managed to foster six troubled teens in his home, encouraging them to remain in school and allowing them to build positive futures for themselves. Mr. Bryan has been inducted into the Allen Park Hall of Fame and the City of Allen Park in-line skating rink was named after him for his continued dedication to youth sports. He spent a combined total of 47 years coaching football for the Allen Park Bulldogs and baseball for Melvindale High School, Allen Park Middle School, American Legion, and Mickey Mantle. Mr. Bryan donates all of his coaching salary back to the Melvindale High School baseball program. Mr. Bryan was a member of the Allen Park School Board for eight years. He volunteered at the 24th District Court as a probation officer and has run Boy Scout Troop 1104 for approximately ten years. He is currently employed at Allen Park Community Center and remains a well respected member of our community.
Officer Rolando Hinojosa and his family lived in Melvindale where he attended Palmer Elementary School, Strong Middle School, and Melvindale High School. He attended and graduated from Southeastern College with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and he finished coursework and is working on his thesis for a Masters in Security Administration. Rolando married in 1990 and they reside in Allen Park where they parent five children. Officer Hinojosa has been a police officer for the past 13 years. He is responsible for starting Safety Town and Eddie Eagle in the City of Melvindale. The Safety Town Program educates children ages four to six on safety measures including bus, bicycle, fire, and railroad safety. In the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program, Officer Hinojosa wears an eagle costume and educates elementary school students on gun safety and prevention of firearm related accidents among children. He was the school liaison for Melvindale Public Schools for one year, at which time he ran the Drug Awareness Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E.), teaching fifth grade students the skills needed to avoid gang, drugs, and violence. Officer Hinojosa is also involved in the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), which trains citizens to assist police in the event of a community disaster. The program has been in existence for one year and has graduated 29 adults to date. Officer Hinojosa has participated in the 24th District Court's Law Day program for a number of years. He is a valuable employee of the City of Melvindale's Police Department and a dignified member of our community.
Law Day 2009 Liberty Bell Award Winners
Jerry Lee Williams has been a Melvindale resident since 1999. He resides at the Coogan Terrace and serves there as Chairman of the Housing Commission. He takes the initiative to keep things in order at the library at Coogan Terrace by updating books and keeping it clean and organized. Jerry is the founder and Senior Pastor of "Heart to Heart Ministries". This organization serves the elderly and provides them throughout the year with wheelchairs, canes, and miscellaneous supplies. Jerry also ministers at many nursing homes within the downriver area. He is a chaplain for many of the local hospitals where he makes gift bags to distribute. In 2008, Heart to Heart Ministries passed out 25,000 gift bags. Jerry is a member at Faith Christian Assembly in Melvindale where he is an intern with Senior Pastor Patrick Bassio. Jerry serves on the Historical Commission and Beautification Committee. In the summer, you will see Jerry planning and maintaining various flower beds throughout the city. Jerry is involved in C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) and has taken an active leadership role with them. He is certified in the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, serving victims in need of counseling for various issues. In spite of facing many challenges with his health, Jerry has not allowed that to interfere with his passion and desire to see this city become the best it can be.
Ernest Holewinski and his wife have been residents of Allen Park for 45 years. They raised six children in Allen Park, and their family now ranges as far away as England and Japan and includes 18 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Mr. Holewinski is an Army veteran and a retired purchasing agent and controller, with a lengthy history of community involvement which still continues. Ernest has volunteered for decades with various church, community, service, and charitable organizations. He is nearing his 50th year as a Knights of Columbus member. Ernie was a member of Cabrini's Dad's Club and Holy Name Society, was Cubmaster of the Cabrini Pack, and Scout Master at the Allen Park Presbyterian Church. Ernie is currently an American Legion member. He was past director of the Allen Park Jaycees, receiving their Distinguished Service Award in 1969. Ernie served Allen Park on the former Citizens Financial Advisory Commission and currently serves on the Community Relations Commission, and as Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Commission. On top of all these duties, Ernie is the current President of the Allen Park Community Council, for the second time, and he recently chaired the Community Council fundraiser for the Allen Park Lighted Christmas Parade in 2008.
Law Day 2010 Liberty Bell Award Winners
John J. "Jack" Rourke has been a resident of Allen Park for over 55 years. He is married to Claudette Rourke. They have five children and 12 grandchildren. Mr. Rourke is very dedicated to the community of Allen Park, starting with his involvement with St. Frances Cabrini Church, school and is a founding father of the Dad's Club. In the 1960's, he was elected to the Allen Park School Board, appointed Commissioner to the Parks and Recreation Commission, and then elected to the Allen Park City Council. Mr. Rourke is most recognized for his development of the Allen Park Beautification Commission. Mr. Rourke's other achievements include being the founding father of the Park Colony Swim Club, an original Parish member with St. Hugh Parish in Southgate, and is currently a Commissioner on the Library Commission working on a new library project.
Clare Pavluk was born in 1924 and has lived in Melvindale for 62 years with her husband Daniel. They have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. Mrs. Pavluk became a Melvindale Library Commission Charter Member in 1957 and has continued to serve on the Commission the past 53 years.She was a faithful attendee and organizer and would send out reminder cards to other Commissioners so the Commission would always have a quorum. She played an instrumental part in spearheading the Melvindale Library Parking Lot Enhancement campaign and helped with several other library improvements as well. Mrs. Pavluk has always been involved and held offices within the Library Commission many times, including Chairperson and Secretary. She is also an "Unoficial City Historian" and is very supportive of commission members. In her spare time, Mrs. Pavluk enjoys volunteering for the Karmanos Cancer Instute and is currently on the Church Council for St. Francis Xavier Church in Ecorse.
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