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Tag Archive | "michigan supreme court"

Pilot program could save court time, reduce jail overcrowding


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The Kent County Board of Commissioners accepted $33,730 from the State of Michigan last week to fund a pilot program to determine if earlier involvement by court-appointed attorneys will help speed cases through the system, and enhance their services.

Funded by the Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), the grant funding will be used by the 63rd District Court to increase the use of court appointed attorneys for “indigent” (low income) misdemeanor defendants at their first court appearance or bond hearing. The Court hopes the program will reduce the number of court appearances necessary in misdemeanor cases.

“Currently, the Court provides court appointed counsel to indigent misdemeanor defendants only after the first pre-trial conference,” said Kevin McKay, 63rd District Court Administrator. “The opportunity to meet with a Public Defender before arraignments or bond hearings could help eliminate additional hearings, which would save staff time and taxpayer money.”

Currently, the Court is working with the Kent County Office of the Defender, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kent County Office of the Sheriff, with a goal of starting the program by March 1, 2014. Some of the grant funds will be used to have an attorney available for an additional one-half day per week for weekly misdemeanor arraignments at the Court, as well as providing counsel for eligible indigent defendants being arraigned by video on any day of the week.

The pilot funding expires on September 30, 2014, at which time the Court will evaluate the program.

Evaluation will include tracking the time these misdemeanor cases take to move through the system before and after the pilot, and the number of pleas that are completed at first arraignment, as well as the point when defendants first meet with court-appointed counsel.

“We’re appreciative that the SCAO selected 63rd District Court to pilot this program,” McKay added.

“As one of the busiest two-judge district courts in the state, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient.”

If the pilot is successful, the Court will evaluate if the program can be continued within its operating budget and/or identify and apply for additional grant funding.

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Videos Of Michigan Supreme Court go online


New service is collaboration between Supreme Court and State Bar of Michigan

LANSING, MI—Video of Michigan Supreme Court oral arguments, administrative conferences and administrative hearings will be going online, thanks to a collaboration between the Court and the State Bar of Michigan.

Video will be recorded at the Hall of Justice then posted on the State Bar’s “Virtual Court” web page at http://www.michbar.org/courts/virtualcourt.cfm within 24 to 48 hours after the hearing or conference. Viewers can watch selected video and view related agendas or press releases at the same time.

The first videos, including a welcome message from Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, have been posted. Also available for viewing is video coverage of the Court’s July 15 administrative conference, prefaced by an introduction from the chief justice.

Kelly said the new service is part of the Court’s commitment to openness and transparency. “While our hearings and administrative conferences are in public, not everyone can make the trip to Lansing to attend,” she said. “In a digital age, the public increasingly expects not only physical access, but also virtual access, to government. With this expansion of the Court’s online presence, viewers will need only an Internet connection to watch the Court at work.”

State Bar President Edward H. Pappas said the online video “will be a valuable tool for attorneys, particularly those who practice before the appellate courts. It’s enormously helpful to see others arguing their cases, for example, when you are preparing to go before the Supreme Court yourself.

“But more than that, we believe this new service will give the public an additional window into the workings of the Supreme Court, not only as to the cases the Court decides, but also as to the role it plays in administration of state courts,” Pappas added. “We’ll continue to develop it and add improvements based on the feedback we get from viewers.”

Kelly noted that Michigan Government Television will continue to broadcast Supreme Court proceedings, as MGTV has done since 1996. “We will still have television coverage, in many cases live coverage, of the Court, thanks to our valued partner MGTV,” she said. “Online video is simply another way of making the Court more accessible.”

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