Cynthia Conlon, 13th Circuit Court, Family Court Referee

I’m going to have to write this one from memory because there’s not much left on the internet about it.

Cynthia Conlon was a 13th Circuit Court family court referee from 2007 until recently. In her official position, she decided what was best for children. Hundreds of children. Thousands of children. If you had a family case in front of Conlon, she made critical decisions that impacted you and your family. Referees can do things like place a child with one parent over the other. It’s not a stretch to say that family court referees can have a drastic impact on the lives of children impacted by their court orders.

The story goes that the police busted Conlon’s then-husband Roland Woodring for possession of child sexually abusive material. During the bust, they allegedly found marijuana on the couple’s dining room table. This is back in 2007 when marijuana was straight up, definitely illegal. This also occurred while Conlon was on the bench making decisions as a 13th Circuit Court family court referee.

Not to worry, 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers decided that Conlon couldn’t have known that there was marijuana on the dining room table, and couldn’t have known about the other stuff. Despite it all, Judge Rodgers thought she had the good judgment to profoundly impact the lives of children in Grand Traverse County for another decade. She stayed on the bench and continued to rule on family law cases in the 13th Circuit Court until her resignation at the end of 2016. She is now in private practice.

A court magistrate serves at the appointment of the court judges that are in charge of her. In other words, Judge Rodgers could have decided that, her marijuana or not, that it’d be best if people whose husbands aren’t caught with drugs and child pornography are the ones who make the decisions that impact the children who have no choice but to be under the jurisdiction of the 13th Circuit Court. But he didn’t do that.

And then the Dennis Mikko thing went down on Rodgers’ watch shortly after that.

Conlon is involved with the Old Town Playhouse, and she has done nothing to stop Roland Woodring from working on shows. They both seem to be down with OTP.

Despite the serious nature of Mr. Woodring’s offenses, the court sentenced Mr. Woodring to serve only one year in jail. This guy and this guy both got 17 months in prison.

Roland’s sex offender registration

You can read the unhappy couple’s divorce ledger here

One of Conlon’s family court rulings:

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19 thoughts on “Cynthia Conlon, 13th Circuit Court, Family Court Referee”

  1. Hey, there. If you’d like to talk to me about what actually happened with my ex-husband, and if you’d like to hear about the 1,000’s of other cases I handled while on the bench where I actually made a good difference in the lives of children, feel free to get in touch with me. Also, you’re free to get in touch with Old Town Playhouse, who will let you know that I volunteer to work tech on one production each year, and, as a lowly volunteer, I have NO control over who a music director chooses to have in his or her pit. It’s been 12 years. I made a huge mistake regarding who I chose to marry, but that was all I did wrong. I suffered mightily for it. And this is unfair.

    1. I think this anonymous author should retract this hurtful and misleading “recollection.” It is an abuse of the First Amendment. Look at the responses you’re getting. You are of the same ilk that claims the Sandy Hook murders is a hoax. You enjoy hurting innocent people. You are causing measurable harm. I think the courts should enjoin your publication, as it has no redeeming social value. Why don’t you go to work for Breitbart Publications or Fox News? They could use talent like yours.

  2. I tried leaving a comment on this a few minutes ago, but maybe you’re screening the posts. It just mystifies me that you would post this in January, 2019, 12 years after my ex-husband’s bust, and 2 1/2 years after I retired from the court. I didn’t do anything wrong, and I’m just trying to live my damn life.

  3. Anyone that actually has the good fortune of knowing Cynthia Conlon understands how seriously she performed her duties as a court referee.
    We would do well to consider how incredibly difficult it is administering judgements within the perimeters of the law.
    As far as her personal life, I can’t say to you what you deserve to hear! How dare you make these assumptions about her, about her character.
    I trust her with my life.

  4. Actually, Ms Conlon is an excellent attorney. She was also a good and fair referee. I really don’t understand the reason you are publishing this post, at all. There are more direct and effective ways to communicate with someone and to effect change, if you are dissatisfied with “the system.” I would tend to think less of you for this mean-spirited post, than to think less of Ms Conlon. This post makes you look bad, not anyone else. My advice would be to delete this post. Hopefully, not too many others have seen it. Whoever you are, get into counseling, stop blaming others, and move on to make yourself a good life, despite the past.

  5. This is utter garbage. Your disgusting inuendo is unbelievable, at best. Anyone with half a brain can write down two things that, in their own right, happen to be true. It takes someone with a high degree of intelligence to understand and truthfully assert a connection between those two things. The stretches in logic that this article begs the reader to make are incredulous.
    I have known Ms. Conlon for over twenty years. I have volunteered alongside her at the Old Town Playhouse. She is passionate about Theater in Traverse City and freely donates her time to it. I know her as a straight shooter, who is as honest as the day is long. I know that she cared deeply about every family, especially the children, which came before her. In almost every one of her decisions one side was not happy, but I know she always tried to recommend what she thought was best for that family.
    She, like thousands of other ex-spouses, regrets her choice in marriage. Choosing a partner does not, most often, mean that you know all sides of that person. Such was this case. Ms. Conlon would not knowingly do anything illegal. I believe Judge Rogers, correctly, adjudged that, in choosing to not unrealistically punish her for something over which she had no control.
    Why you choose to, years and years later, drag this all back up smacks of something other than ‘investigative journalism.’ In fact, anything which starts “I’m going to have to write this from memory because there’s not much left on the Internet” would never even get printed by anything calling itself honest journalism. ‘Your memory’ all these years later is highly suspect. And the idea that you would even consider using the Internet to corroborate anything is unbelievable!
    I notice the author of this ‘piece’ has not placed his/her name with their work. Why is that? It reminds me of that line from ‘The Wizard of Oz’: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain pulling the strings!” And that’s my opinion of all this.

  6. Thank you, whoever “wrote this from memory,” for validating that Cynthia Conlon is an amazing attorney who helped thousands of children. Thank you for also pointing out that she is a strong woman who dealt with her EX-HUSBAND’S wrong-doings with incredible strength and grace. I don’t know what you were trying to get at with this dirt article, you know, MORE THAN A DECADE LATER, but it sounds like you need something better to do. This “you wanna know what chaps my ass” website is comical. The first sentence alone makes people realize that all the facts aren’t going to be there. What Roland did was despicable, unacceptable, and horrific, that is true, but don’t slander the names of GOOD people and organizations.

  7. Exactly what is your point here? Your tone and presentation come off as a
    bunch of mean spirited fluff. The fact that Cynthia is divorced has no bearing on her ability to interpret and apply law. In fact I would consider her decision to divorce as sound in this scenario. Would *you* like to be judged and accountable to the actions of those around you? Cynthia’s reputation is that of good judgement and caring concern. She has demonstrated pride in excellence and compassion in the most difficult legal situations; those involving children. Her ex husband’s actions have no bearing on her abilities, especially 12 years after the fact. My suggestion is that you find other tales to chase. Cynthia’s work will stand for itself.

  8. It’s ironic that somebody who hides behind a veil of anonymity and a computer screen, claims that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

    Condemning somebody for the actions of their spouse, twelve years after the fact, seems spiteful and petty. I’m inclined to think the author of this blog has a personal axe to grind more than a simple desire to expose corruption in the area. And to blame Ms. Conlon for the volunteer staffing choices a local nonprofit makes, when she herself has no power to make decisions on that staffing, all the while dragging the org into the mud as well, just puts up more points in the “personal vendetta” column as far as I can see.

    This whole thing is a limp-wristed attempt at character assassination, and anybody with the barest sense of reading comprehension will be able to see that. Get a life, muckraker.

  9. I have known Cinder for a long time and worked with her when she was a referee. She did amazing work helping families and children with heart and wisdom. To bring this garbage factless blog up about stuff that may from memory happened many years ago sounds like you are holding a grudge. We all know how karma works things out in life. Proud to know Cinder an amazing attorney helping others in her community ethical and kind hearted always. Now that is the truth.

  10. So, who is the article about? It is titled with Cynthia’s name, yet you speak more on the things she had no control over in the first place, so I guess I am confused.

    Perhaps your “memory” fails to recall the real reason for this personal attack against someone who has lived through some really rough life experiences and still went on with her life, unlike you. It seems to me that you had to stand in front of her when she was on the stand, she saw the fault in you and made her choice to the best of her ability and you didn’t like the answer you got, so instead of owning your own responsibility in the matter, you decided you should lash out at someone after 3+ years, and because why? You didn’t get what you wanted? Apparently, you fail to realize that once a child is in your life, it is no longer about what YOU want because that child should always come first! Unfortunately, there are millions of people who just do not seem to grasp that fact. Maybe you are one of those selfish, narcissistic types where nothing is ever your fault as far as you are concerned, but let me be quite clear. The rest of the billions of people in this world, they don’t care how you feel because they know the road to heaven doesn’t go through your front yard!

    As far as the marajuana is concerned, so what! Every single person I know has at least tried it once in their lives, and I have no doubt that you are no different so don’t be a damn hypocrite! There are so many other horrible offenses being committed that a little hash tends to be pushed aside to sort out a much larger scaled issue. People hid the fact that they smoked for decades before it became legal, just like they hide other things such as child pornography. I can guarantee you, knowing what I know about this woman you feel you need to personally attack, that had she known he had the material, she would have been the first one to turn him in. Being a district court judge and all, I would feel more confidant in her decision to do that as she deals with abusers on a daily basis in her line of work, and since when should wives be punished for their husbands indiscretions? She did nothing wrong other than marry someone who broke her heart. We don’t hold wives accountable for the crimes their husbands commit.

    Come out of the 1800’s and join us here and now. Everyone has the right to live the way they want to live, but in your case, I feel you are familiar with how that works. What you fail to realize are the consequences of the actions you chose to live by. Stop focusing on the finger you are pointing outward and pay more attention to the 3 that are pointing back at you! The sooner you realize that every choice you make has equal and opposite consequences, the better off you will be.

    As you can see above, everyone who knows Cynthia Conlon has nothing but positive things to say about her, and you hold now power here. Take your anonymous blog and shove it up your cowardly arse! “So Much Cooler Online” wasn’t cool when Brad Paisley sang it and it isn’t here either!

  11. Thoughts are coming to mind faster than I can type. I’ll refrain from posting the ones leaping to assumptions about the author of this article and astonishment that this is out there and tell you about the woman I’ve known well for about 35 years and a little about how she handled that horrible time in her life.

    Cynthia has the most integrity of anyone I know. She is privy to so much of your precious “dirt” yet holds confidentiality sacred. She takes loyalty to infinity and beyond, considers every action thoroughly and lives her life honestly. She chose to use her amazing smarts for good, and studied to advocate for the welfare of families, making unimaginably tough decisions. While inevitably pissing off some whose judgment didn’t go their way, through the course of her long career she earned the deep respect of clients, people who came before her in court and co-workers.

    When the events of 12 years ago happened, she immediately…and I mean immediately…separated herself from her husband both physically and mentally. She went through a hell she did nothing to deserve. Her amazing personal strength and the people who knew her character saw her through that time and you, cowardly author, have no right to bring it up.

    As for the Old Town Playhouse, ironically, I am the volunteer chair of the music “committee” at OTP. I’ve been Music Director for 18 or so shows over 35 years. Roland played in my pit orchestras for many years before his crime. After his incarceration, the OTP staff struggled with the decision to let him perform again. I personally had a very difficult time with it. In the end, years after his punishment and after lengthy consideration, the belief in rehabilitation, forgiveness, second chances and the power of music to heal won. When he asked to play I said yes.

    Cynthia, true to her integrity, had absolutely nothing to do with this decision. She has no control over OTP’s policies. Her desire to continue to volunteer for a few shows a year while devoting her day job life to her clients is certainly her prerogative and to her credit.

    Whether you believe in taking the grey details of a situation into account or whether you are a black or white line-drawer, Cynthia’s actions are and were far above reproach. I’m so proud to know her, proud of the life she’s chosen to lead, proud of the way she’s handled every adversity she encounters along her path. Go find some happiness to write about instead of mucking around with things you know nothing about.

  12. The logic in this post is so flawed. Being married to someone who commits a crime does not make their spouse also guilty of those crimes. No one should be held accountable for their spouse’s misdeeds, let alone have their entire career attacked and dragged through the mud. Making a poor choice in spouse does not make Cynthia incapable of making better choices for those in her courtroom. Cynthia has my utmost respect for divorcing Roland immediately upon discovery of his crimes and continuing on with her life and career.

    Find something better to do with your time than to write such garbage about good people in our community.

  13. I first met Cinder in 1985 if I remember correctly,and it was through the OTP. I knew her before she chose to go to law school and she was one of the people who inspired me to earn my law degree. I have seen ber do her job on the bench and I have never felt she was anything other than professional.
    I have known Cinder since she left the bench and she continues to be the consumate professional. This article seems like a personal vendetta that has been stewing for years. Maybe you feel better about yourself now that hou have written it from behind the safety of a screen. You have besmirched the character of a woman who has provided years of professional service with nothjng less than excellence.
    Cinder, if you read this, know that your friends know the real you. Thanks for who youare have been and who you are.

  14. Wow, I don’t know what kind of lowlife would attack Cinder Conlon, who happens to be one of the most decent, moral human beings I’ve ever known… but my guess is, a sociopath with no friends.

    I’ve known and loved Cinder for over thirty years. Not only is this post a bunch of garbage, but I can only surmise it is politically motivated, since I’ve never known anyone who could actually dislike Cinder as a human being.

    Whoever posted this garbage is a soulless garbage person.

  15. Huh…. I was there, right by her side when all this went down… A LIFETIME AGO. She conducted herself with absolute grace and transparency. The ex husband , by the way, has long since re-married. Cinder Conlon, as pointed out by so many before me, is one of the most incredible human beings anyone could be lucky enough to know. How strange. Were you just bored one day, sitting at your computer and *ding* a light went on….”hey, I finally have something I can add to dirty Traverse City”. Which is disgusting in it’s very concept. A whole page designed just to talk dirt on our friends and neighbors. It takes a pretty black heart to contribute any story, particularly one that takes aim at a person who served her community with such commitment and dedication, FOR YEARS. I could not have done that job, not for one day, not for one minute. I’d say a good, deep look in the mirror is in order for you, author of this post. What you have done is not okay. The crazy part is, you almost seem proud of your “contribution”. I’ll repeat, it is not okay. Not okay for Cinder and certainly not okay for your character. Assuming you still have one somewhere in there. Go meditate, go pray, go do whatever you must to do to gain a little insight. This is not okay.

  16. Gee, not a SINGLE corroboration for this stinking offal you seem to think worthy of the term “journalism.”

    I have to suspect the author of this pitiful, puerile, absurd collection of lies and innuendo is one of three things: a man who’s been rejected by Cinder romantically, a parent who didn’t like what happened in her courtroom, or someone with a similar sort of grudge – though, frankly, it’s difficult to imagine anyone doing this other than one of the people who simply didn’t like what happened in her courtroom. Cinder couldn’t make an enemy of a random person; she’s far too kind, mature, and genial to have made an enemy in her personal life.

    Regardless of who you are, by now you’re aware of what you’re up against: an entire city of friends and colleagues who would support and defend Cynthia Conlon till our dying days.

    You, I suspect, have very few – if any – people who would do the same.

  17. What rubbish. “Writing from memory”? This tells us all we need to know about your ethic – that you have none. It’s also cowardly to launch an attack against anyone under anonymity.

    Yes, I too am a friend of Judge Conlon. Your claim that she is immoral would be completely laughable if it weren’t libel. No doubt you dumped on her because she ruled against you in a case and this is your pitiful attempt at payback.

    As someone else suggested, therapy or counseling would be a good idea for you.

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