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COVID-19 Updates

October 2, 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 Two Court
Reopening Plan) which includes:

The Court had hoped to move to Phase Three by now but local Covid-19 rates have
continued to be too high to meet SCAO Gating Criteria, although state and local orders
restricting movement and/or requiring shelter in- place have been rescinded. The Court will
continue to operate as follows:

  1. Proceedings will be scheduled to be conducted virtually to the maximum extent
    possible, consistent with Administrative Order No. 2020-6.
  2. Any requests for remote hearings should be directed to the staff of the
    Judge/Magistrate assigned to your case.
  3. In-person court proceedings will be allowed on a limited basis. Restrictions include:
    limit the number of attendees to 10 in the courtroom, require masks of all attendees,
    separate desk protective shields for court recorders and judicial assistants.
  4. Pursuant to MCR 8.110(C), members of the public or staff who refuse to wear required
    face coverings or adhere to social distancing requirements may be asked to leave the
    court facility.
  5. Court window service will resume full operations and be open from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15
    p.m.
  6. The Court is no longer offering an in-person Victim Impact Panel Program (VIP). All
    VIP requirements can be met by attending one provided by virtual providers. A listing
    of some providers can be located on the Court’s website under Announcements or
    Resources – Victim Impact Panel Program.
  7. Wedding are not currently being scheduled. They may resume once the Court is
    approved for a Phase Three Reopening Plan by SCAO.
  8. On September 25, 2020 SCAO has modified its previous guidelines further restricting
    jury trials. Jury trials cannot be considered unless there is a seven day average of less
    than 70 Covid-19 cases per million per day. These restrictive SCAO guidelines
    preclude consideration of conducting jury trials currently and not until there has been
    considerable improvement in current Covid-19 rates of infection in Kent County.

About 61st District Court

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.

Media Releases
61st District Court - Kent County, Michigan
Announcements
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

Cases
The District Court handles the following cases:

  • Civil Cases ( < $25,000)
  • Small Claims ( < $6,000)
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Land Contract Forfeitures
  • Misdemeanor Criminal
  • Felony Criminal Arraignments & Preliminary Exams
Job Opportunities