Judge Pennie Millender of 36th District Court dies

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
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Judge Pennie Millender, a longtime 36th District Court judge in Detroit, has died, her niece told The News Monday.

Born Beatrice Karen Pennie Millender, the judge died of natural causes Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. She was 68.

A public viewing will be held from 2 p.m.- 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25 at Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 W. McNichols Road in Detroit.  Masks and social distancing will be required.

A private service will be held Tuesday, Jan. 26, according to the judge's family.

Judge Millender, who had served on the 36th District Court since 2003, was a graduate of Southern University in Louisiana and the Detroit College of Law. Before becoming a judge, she was a magistrate in the Detroit court.

In a video for her re-election campaign in 2016, Judge Millender said her judicial philosophy was one based on fairness and equal treatment of those who entered her courtroom.

"Detroiters need and deserve judges with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the law; a commitment to guarantee everyone who appears before them equal protection under the law: and enough life experience to apply the law in a fair, humane, and just manner."

Judge Pennie Millender

Memorial tributes are pouring in for the late jurist.

“Judge Millender was a gem, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement." She and her family were a part of Detroit’s rich tapestry that bridged the gap for many to become involved in civil rights, election work, and philanthropy. Pennie was warm, compassionate, and truly believed in the proper administration of justice. She will be sorely missed.”

 Millender was a member of one of Detroit's most distinguished political families. Her father, Robert Millender, an attorney, was an aide and adviser to the late Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, the city's first African American mayor.

The city's Millender Center is named for Robert Millender, who managed successful campaigns for figures such as the late former U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, former Recorder's Court Judge George Crockett and Secretary of State Richard Austin.

I "The biggest compliment I get from friends is that they didn't know the center was named for Dad. See, he taught us to treat everybody the same. And that's what I try to be ... that same kind of person," Judge Millender told The Detroit News in 2002.

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