Michigan Circuit Court

Michigan Circuit Court: Understanding Its Role, Types of Cases, and How It Works

When it comes to navigating the legal system in Michigan, one of the most important courts to understand is the Circuit Court. This court plays a critical role in the state’s judicial system, and it handles a wide variety of cases that can have significant impacts on people’s lives. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Michigan Circuit Court, including what it is, what types of cases it hears, and how it works.

What is the Michigan Circuit Court?

The Michigan Circuit Court is the highest trial court in the state. It has original jurisdiction over most civil and criminal cases, and it also serves as an appellate court for some lower courts. The Circuit Court is divided into different districts throughout the state, and each district has one or more judges who hear cases in that area.

Understanding the Structure of the Michigan Circuit Court

Circuit Court Judges

Each Circuit Court judge in Michigan is elected to a six-year term. When a vacancy occurs, the Governor appoints someone to fill the seat until the next general election. To be eligible for the position, a candidate must be a licensed attorney who has been engaged in the practice of law for at least five years.

Circuit Court Districts

Michigan’s Circuit Court is divided into different districts based on geography. Each district has at least one Circuit Court judge, and some of the larger districts have multiple judges. There are currently 57 Circuit Court districts throughout the state.

Types of Cases Heard in Michigan Circuit Court

The Michigan Circuit Court handles a wide variety of cases. Some of the most common types of cases heard in this court include:

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3Civil Cases

Civil cases involve disputes between two or more parties where one party is seeking compensation or some other form of relief from the other. Some common types of civil cases heard in Circuit Court include personal injury claims, breach of contract disputes, and property damage claims.

Criminal Cases

The Michigan Circuit Court also hears criminal cases. These cases involve charges of criminal activity, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Some examples of criminal cases heard in Circuit Court include drug offenses, assault and battery, and homicide.

Family Law Cases

Family law cases involve disputes between family members. Some common types of family law cases heard in Circuit Court include divorce, child custody, and child support.

Probate Cases

Probate cases involve the distribution of assets and debts after someone dies. Some common types of probate cases heard in Circuit Court include will contests and estate disputes.

Appeals

The Michigan Circuit Court also serves as an appellate court for some lower courts. This means that if someone is unhappy with a decision made by a lower court, they can file an appeal with the Circuit Court to have the decision reviewed.

How the Michigan Circuit Court Works

Filing a Case

To file a case in the Michigan Circuit Court, the plaintiff (the person or entity bringing the case) must submit a complaint or petition to the court. The defendant (the person or entity being sued) then has an opportunity to respond to the complaint or petition.

Pretrial Procedures

Once a case has been filed, the court will schedule a series of pretrial conferences and hearings. These may include motions hearings, where the parties argue about specific issues related to the case, and settlement conferences, where the parties try to resolve the case outside of court.

Trial

If a case is not resolved through settlement, it will proceed to trial. During the trial, each side will present evidence and arguments to the judge or jury. The judge or jury will then make a decision and issue a ruling.

Post-Trial Procedures

After a trial, there may be post-trial motions, such as motions for a new trial or appeals. If the losing party is not satisfied with the ruling, they may file an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court.

Michigan Courts Case Search: Finding Court Cases Online

The Michigan Courts Case Search is an online tool provided by the Michigan Supreme Court that allows you to search for information about court cases in Michigan. To use the Michigan Courts Case Search:

  1. Go to the Michigan Courts Case Search website.
  2. Enter the name of the person or entity you are searching for in the search bar.
  3. Narrow your search by selecting a court level, court type, and case type.
  4. Click “Search” to view a list of cases that match your search criteria.
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Circuit Court Lookup: Finding Information About Circuit Court Cases

The Michigan Circuit Court is the highest trial court in the state and handles a wide variety of cases, including civil, criminal, family law, probate, and appellate cases. To find information about Circuit Court cases:

  1. Go to the Michigan Courts Case Search website.
  2. Select “Circuit Court” as the court level and “All Case Types” as the case type.
  3. Enter the name of the person or entity you are searching for in the search bar.
  4. Click “Search” to view a list of Circuit Court cases that match your search criteria.

Michigan Criminal Court Records: Finding Criminal Court Cases

To find information about criminal court cases in Michigan, you can use the Michigan Courts Case Search or the Michigan State Police’s Criminal History Record Check website. Both tools allow you to search for criminal court cases by name or other identifying information.

Michigan District Court Case Search: Finding District Court Cases

The Michigan District Court is a trial court that handles civil cases, misdemeanor criminal cases, and preliminary examinations in felony criminal cases. To find information about District Court cases:

  1. Go to the Michigan Courts Case Search website.
  2. Select “District Court” as the court level and “All Case Types” as the case type.
  3. Enter the name of the person or entity you are searching for in the search bar.
  4. Click “Search” to view a list of District Court cases that match your search criteria.

Michigan Court of Appeals: Finding Information About Appeals Cases

The Michigan Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court that reviews decisions made by lower courts, including Circuit Courts. To find information about Court of Appeals cases:

  1. Go to the Michigan Court of Appeals website.
  2. Click on the “Case Search” tab.
  3. Enter the name of the person or entity you are searching for in the search bar.
  4. Click “Search” to view a list of Court of Appeals cases that match your search criteria.
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Michigan Criminal Court Records

Michigan criminal court records are public records that provide information about criminal cases in the state. These records include details of the offense, the defendant’s name and date of birth, the court’s decision, and the sentence imposed. The Michigan State Police maintains the Criminal Justice Information Center, which is the official repository of criminal records in the state.

To access Michigan criminal court records, you can visit the Michigan State Police website and go to the Criminal Records Unit page. Here, you can request criminal records by filling out a form and paying a fee. Alternatively, you can also access criminal records through the Michigan court case search system by searching for criminal cases by name or case number.

Michigan District Court Case Search

The district court is a trial court in Michigan with jurisdiction over civil cases with claims of up to $25,000, small claims cases with claims of up to $6,000, and misdemeanor criminal cases. To search for Michigan district court cases, you can use the Michigan court case search system mentioned earlier. On the search portal, you can select the district court option and search for cases by name, case number, or case type.

Michigan Court of Appeals

The Michigan Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in the state and has jurisdiction over appeals from lower courts. The court consists of 27 judges who hear cases in panels of three.

To search for Michigan Court of Appeals cases, you can visit the Michigan court case search system mentioned earlier. On the search portal, you can select the Court of Appeals option and search for cases by name, case number, or case type.

Michigan Court Records Search by Name

Michigan court records can be searched by name using the Michigan court case search system. On the search portal, you can select the “Search by Name” option and enter the name of the person you are searching for. The search results will show all the cases in which the person is involved, along with case information such as the case number, filing date, and case type.

Conclusion

The Michigan Circuit Court is an essential component of the state’s legal system, serving as the highest trial court and handling a wide variety of cases. Understanding how the Circuit Court works and the types of cases it hears can help people navigate the legal system more effectively.

FAQs

  1. How are Circuit Court judges in Michigan selected?

Circuit Court judges in Michigan are elected to six-year terms.

  1. What types of cases does the Michigan Circuit Court hear?

The Michigan Circuit Court hears civil, criminal, family law, probate, and appellate cases.

  1. How does someone file a case in the Michigan Circuit Court?

To file a case in the Michigan Circuit Court, the plaintiff must submit a complaint or petition to the court.

  1. What happens if a party is not satisfied with the Circuit Court’s ruling?

If a party is not satisfied with the Circuit Court’s ruling, they may file an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court.

  1. How many Circuit Court districts are there in Michigan?

There are currently 57 Circuit Court districts throughout the state of Michigan.

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