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City Guide

Court System

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County Courts

The area court system comprises a state trial court; three state district courts; and federal district and bankruptcy courts. The trial court's criminal/civil division, juvenile division, and friend of the court offices are located in the Washtenaw County courthouse, 101 E. Huron. The 15th District Court is in the city Justice Center, 301 E. Huron. The federal courts are in the Federal Building, 200 E. Liberty.

State Courts

The Washtenaw County Trial Court (22nd Circuit Court and Probate Court), (734-222-3270), is composed of the civil/criminal division, which hears civil cases involving claims of more than $25,000 and all felony cases, and the family division, which includes juvenile court, friend of the court, and probate court. Trial court judges are Archie C. Brown, Patrick Conlin Jr., Timothy P. Connors, Carol Kuhnke, David S. Swartz, Darlene A. O'Brien, and Julia B. Owdziej. Court administrator Dan Dwyer, dwyerd@ewashtenaw.org. washtenawtrialcourt.org

Family Division. (734) 222-3791. Handles child custody, support, and visitation; personal protection orders; and cases involving estates, juvenile delinquency, neglect and abuse, and mental health proceedings. The Family Division also handles divorce cases, (parties are required to attend a mediation education session), confirms adoptions, and hears requests for waivers from minors seeking abortion without parental consent. Juvenile cases are also heard at 101 E. Huron (734) 222-6900. Anyone may petition the court to issue a personal protection order to stop or restrain another person from harassing, beating, wounding, stalking, or assaulting. If you are in immediate danger, you may request an ex parte order, which may be signed without a hearing and without notifying the other party; otherwise, a hearing will be scheduled. Forms are available at Court Services, 101 E. Huron. There is no fee to file a PPO complaint, but the petitioner must pay the cost of serving the restraining order.

Friend of the Court, (734) 222-3050. Automated account information line, (734) 994-9261, (have your case number ready). Case-specific questions may also be emailed to intake@washtenaw.org. The Friend of the Court helps resolve disputes involving divorce, child custody, parenting time, and support. Mediation at no charge for child custody or visitation disputes. The agency also enforces court-ordered child support, spousal support, and parenting time agreements. Support enforcement proceedings may begin automatically if payments fall behind or upon request of the recipient. Parenting time enforcement requires a written request. Parties with FOC support cases can access their account information online by signing up with MiCase: michigan.gov/micase.

District Courts. There are three District Courts in Washtenaw County: the 14A District Court, with four court locations in Pittsfield Township and the cities of Chelsea, Saline, and Ypsilanti; the 14B District Court, serving Ypsilanti Township; and the 15th District Court, serving the City of Ann Arbor. The district courts handle criminal and traffic misdemeanors, civil infractions, local ordinance violations, and felony arraignments, probable cause conferences and preliminary exams, as well as civil cases where the disputed amount is $25,000 or less, landlord-tenant disputes, and small claims cases where the disputed amount is $6,000 or less. Small claims cases are heard without lawyers or juries, usually before a magistrate. Contact the court in which you will be filing your case to obtain information regarding filing fees and process service options. 14A District Court's Online Resources make it easy to resolve some civil infractions, including traffic matters, without coming to court: see washtenaw.org/973/Online-Resources.



FEDERAL COURTS

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan. (313) 234-0065. Cases filed in Detroit; hearings for chapter 7 (liquidation), bankruptcies take place in the Federal Bldg., 200 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. Schedule depends on case filing. Panel trustees Tim Miller (586) 281-3764 and Douglas Ellmann (734) 668-4800 preside. mieb.uscourts.gov

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Federal Bldg., 200 E. Liberty. (734) 741-2380. U.S. District Court hears civil and criminal cases involving federal law and the U.S. Constitution, criminal cases brought by the U.S. Attorney representing the people, and civil cases between citizens of different states alleging damages in amounts greater than $75,000. Cases heard by Judge Bernard A. Friedman (313) 234-5170; Judge Judith E. Levy (734) 887-4700; Magistrate Judge David R. Grand (734) 741-2485. www.mied.uscourts.gov




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