November 19, 2020
In accordance with Administrative Order 2020-14, effective May 6, 2020, the State Court
Administrative Office has directed the court that it must return to a Phase I Reopen Plan
pursuant to a revised SCAO Return to Full Capacity Guide in response to a COVID surge in the
State of Michigan.
Chief Judge Michael Distel of the 61 st District Court –Grand Rapids, with the approval of the
State Court Administrative Office, has entered a revised Phase I Plan effective November 23,
- The court shall be closed for all courthouse activities to the public except those listed
beginning November 23, 2020 except for the following essential operations until December
- Criminal matters involving incarcerated defendants, including trials and sentencings.
- Video arraignments
- Walk-in arraignments for felonies
- Preliminary examinations
- Specialty Courts sanction only cases
- Other emergency proceedings as necessary
- Those who do not have the ability to connect remotely
maximum extent possible, consistent with Administrative Order No. 2020-6.
coverings or adhere to social distancing requirements may be asked to leave the court facility.
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.
- Those individuals that are not a defendant, plaintiff, witness, victim or attorney should
refrain from attending these essential operation proceedings.
- Court payments may be made utilizing online-payments during this crisis. Payments can be
made at www.grcourt.org or by calling 855.292.8925. Payments can also be mailed in to
District Court Clerk’s Office, Suite 1400, 180 Ottawa NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
- Access to court records can be made utilizing the Record Search function at
- Court window services will be closed except for payment and collections and check-in for
felony arraignments. All new cases regarding Landlord Tenant (LT), General Civil (GC), and
Small Claims (SC) will only be accepted in the mail or they may be deposited in the Civil Drop
box located outside the entrance to Suite 1400, which is located by Hearing Room 1A toward
the back of the 1 st floor of the Courthouse.
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.
Click Here to Read the Full Notice
- Civil Cases ( < $25,000)
- Small Claims ( < $6,000)
- Land Contract Forfeitures
- Misdemeanor Criminal
- Felony Criminal Arraignments & Preliminary Exams