POW: Judge Cathy Dowd

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FLINT (WJRT) - (12/12/16) - Just days before she retired, Judge Cathy Dowd handled one of the highest profile cases of the year; the Mateen Cleaves sexual assault case will go down as one of her most memorable times in court.

The two-time cancer survivor sat down with ABC12's Jessica Dupnack on Monday. Dowd invited us into her home to show a different side.

For nearly a decade, Dowd sat on the bench in 67th district court. She says it was her calling after going to law school as a 40 year old. Back then, a career change couldn't have come at a worst time.

"I knew the week before I took my final exams for law school that I had breast cancer. I told the doctors, 'Wait, I have to take my exams.' By the way, I got an A and B+. I was well into chemo therapy when I took the bar exam," Dowd said.

Dowd says that she went out with a bang, handling two high profile, highly publicized cases in her last couple of months.

"The Cleaves case is going to stick out because of the circus. It was and you media people made it a circus," Dowd said.

Dowd dismissed sexual assault charges against former basketball star Mateen Cleaves.

"I'm a human being, I can make a mistake, but I don't think I did in that case," Dowd said.

It's her cases involving addiction that she looks back on and says she made her mark.

"You put them in jail and all you're going to do is hibernate the problem, so my goal to seek treatment and not jail time," Dowd said.

Dowd plans on scrapbooking and quilting in her retirement. She's staying right where she says she belongs - in Flint.

"I just want to thank the people of the City of Flint. They let me realize my dream," Dowd said.

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