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 2021 – 03 effective February 22, 2021 moving the Court forward to (Phase Three Court Reopening Plan) which includes:
State and local orders restricting movement and/or requiring shelter in- place have been rescinded or limited and the State Court Administrative Office has determined existing orders would not prevent the Court from implementing Phase Three requirements and in order to facilitate the essential business of the court, the court is enacting the following measures related to court proceedings.
- Proceedings will be conducted virtually to the maximum extent possible, consistent with Administrative Order No. 2020-6.
- In-person court proceedings will be allowed on a limited basis. Six-foot social distancing will still be required. Judges, staff and the public will be required to wear masks.
- Large venues and common areas in the courthouse (e.g. waiting areas, sit-down dining, etc.) will be open for use using limited six-foot physical distancing.
- The court’s decision to require the public to wear masks will take into account any recommendations from the health department and centers for Disease Control.
- Pursuant to MCR 8.110(c), members of the public or staff that refuse or adhere to social distancing requirements or other mitigation procedures may be asked to leave the court facility.
- Any member of the public who is asked to leave the court facility must be offered an opportunity to conduct court business virtually, attend court proceedings virtually, file documents in an alternative manner, or confer with court administration to determine alternate arrangements for accessing the court.
The 61st District Court is regularly monitoring local public health conditions and data related to COVID-19 to assess their readiness at: https://www.accesskent.com/Health/covid-19-data.htm to proceed to Phase Four of court capacity
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 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
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.
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- Civil Cases ( < $25,000)
- Small Claims ( < $6,500)
- Land Contract Forfeitures
- Misdemeanor Criminal
- Felony Criminal Arraignments & Preliminary Exams