61st District Court – Moves to Phase IV Reopen Plan
Together, the sharp decline of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, increased availability of vaccines, and recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control for fully vaccinated individuals, mean that all Michigan courts can safely expand operations and tailor mitigation measures to local conditions. Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2020-14, all Michigan courts will advance to Phase 4 of the Return to Full Capacity Plan beginning today, June 21, 2021. Chief Judges have discretion to determine the pace of reopening consistent with local conditions. This will enable all courts to expand capacity, focus on conducting jury trials, and address backlogs. In Phase 4, the following requirements apply to all courts:
- Chief Judges have full discretion to protect court staff and court users, consistent with local public health guidance and MIOSHA guidelines.
- Proceedings will be conducted virtually to the maximum extent possible, consistent with Administrative Order No. 2020-6 (extended by Administrative Order No. 2020-12).
- In-person court proceedings, including jury proceedings, will be permitted, consistent with local public health guidance and MIOSHA guidelines pertaining to social distancing, capacity limitations, mask requirements for court participants, etc.
- The public may be required to wear masks pursuant to local public health guidance and MIOSHA guidelines.
- Judges retain the discretion to require individuals in the courtroom to use masks generally or in specific cases, particularly cases involving persons who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- Any person desiring to wear a mask shall be allowed to do so.
- Upon a local resurgence of COVID-19 cases in a local jurisdiction, the court may be required to implement additional COVID-19 mitigation measures provided for in RTFC Phases 1-3.
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the 61st District Court has six judges and one full-time, law trained magistrate. The Court hears cases which arise within the boundary of the City of Grand Rapids.
A district court has exclusive jurisdiction of all civil litigation up to $25,000. and handles garnishments, eviction proceedings, land contract and mortgage foreclosures, and other proceedings. In the criminal field, district court handles all misdemeanors where punishments do not exceed one year, including arraignment, setting and acceptance of bail, trial and sentencing; and conducts preliminary examinations in felony cases. Also, a small claims division is provided in district court for civil cases where the amount claimed is not more than $6,000. In these cases, litigants agree to waive their right to a jury, rules of evidence, representation by a lawyer, and the right to appeal from the district judge’s decision. If either party objects, the case will be heard by the general civil division of the district court.
- June 22, 2021: Phase IV Announcement
- June 8, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel, acting pursuant Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 2020-14 , effective May 6, 2020 with approval of the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), has issued Local Administrative Order 2020 – 03 (Phase One Court Reopening Plan)
- April 24, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel orders that the 61st District Court shall suspend all operations beginning March 18, 2020 – May 15, 2020.
- April 9, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel orders that the 61st District Court shall suspend all operations beginning March 18, 2020 – May 1, 2020.
- March 23, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel orders that the 61st District Court shall suspend all operations beginning March 18, 2020 – April 12, 2020.
- March 18, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel orders that the 61st District Court shall suspend all operations beginning March 18-April 5, 2020.
- March 16, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel announced additional actions being taken by the 61st District Court to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- March 13, 2020: Chief Judge Michael J. Distel announced the following actions being taken by the 61st District Court to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
Wedding ceremonies will resume Friday August 13. Weddings at 61st District Court are for Grand Rapids city residents only and cost $10. You must submit verification of marriage counseling prior to scheduling your ceremony. Reservations are based on availability and weddings are only performed on Friday afternoons. Masks must be worn and there is a maximum capacity of ten people total allowed in the courtroom.
Victim Impact Panel Notice
In order to reduce the risk posed to the public, court staff, and other stakeholders, while protecting public safety and the legal rights of our citizens, the Court has determined that we cannot continue our Victim Impact Panel any time in the foreseeable future. We understand that ideally having someone in person and local is more impactful, but in looking at the changes that we would need to make currently in order to run these panels it would be impractical.
Click Here to Read the Full Notice
- Civil Cases ( < $25,000)
- Small Claims ( < $6,500)
- Land Contract Forfeitures
- Misdemeanor Criminal
- Felony Criminal Arraignments & Preliminary Exams