The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Judge Richard Wygonik as Chief Judge of Dearborn's , effective Jan.1, 2012.
In addition to hearing cases, Judge Wygonik will serve as the presiding officer of the court and carry out its administrative duties, as well as represent the court at public functions and serve as its spokesman. The chief judge serves without additional compensation.
“I am pleased to have earned the confidence of the Michigan Supreme Court and of my legal peers,"Wygonik said in a statement. "As chief judge of the 19th District Court, I will work to maintain an environment that protects the rights of those who appear before the courts."
Judge Wygonik added that he hopes to increase the court's operational efficiency. The 19th District Court is one of Michigan’s busiest courts, with over 70,000 cases adjudicated annually.
“Mindful of the court’s heavy workload, I will strive for greater efficiency in court operations," Wygonik said. "To achieve this goal, it is important to have the cooperation and collaboration of my fellow judges, as well as the professional staff and administrators at the Dearborn District Court.
"I believe that especially in the current economic climate, the community views this as a critical mandate, and not an option."
Judge Wygonik was appointed to the bench in 2005. Dearborn voters retained him for a full six-year term in November 2006.
Judge Wygonik is a lifetime resident of Dearborn and a graduate of . He received his law degree from Wayne State University after completing his undergraduate work at and Western Michigan University. He has been a practicing attorney since 1972. Judge Wygonik served as a mediator for Wayne County Circuit Court and as a hearing officer for the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board. He also served on the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association Executive Board.
Long active in the Dearborn community, Judge Wygonik is president of the Polish American Legal Society. His memberships include the Dearborn Pioneers Club, the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights ARC, the Dearborn Bar Association, the Polish American Congress, and Bishop Foley Knights of Columbus. He also participated in local cable television’s “Law in Action” and is a founding member of Polish American Citizens for Equity.
Judge Wygonik and his wife, Adrenne, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, are active in the Dearborn Symphony Guild, as well as the Henry Ford College Foundation. They have been married for 43 years.
Wygonik replaces Judge Mark Somers in his new position as chief judge.