ADOPTED - JUNE 28, 2005
Agenda Item No. 12
Introduced by the Judiciary and Finance Committees of the:
INGHAM COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AN APPROPRIATION TO THE DISTRICT COURT FOR VISITING JUDGES SERVICES FOR
ASSISTANCE DURING THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS
WHEREAS, the 55th District Court has a line item for a visiting Judge to assist in the absence of Judges because of leave or training; and
WHEREAS, this line has been allocated for two per diem magistrates that contract to provide additional judicial services at the Court and in Meridian Township; and
WHEREAS, the Chief Judge along with SCAO has identified the need for judicial assistance since the retirement of District Judge, Pamela J. McCabe; and
WHEREAS, the Court wants to ensure there is no interruption of services to the community in the absence of the Judge and until an appointment is made; and
WHEREAS, the 55th District Court will maintain judicial services and caseflow within Ingham County upon approval of a visiting judge; and
WHEREAS, the Court would like to employ a visiting Judge on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the months of July and August; and
WHEREAS, the Court recommends the Ingham County Board of Commissioners approve the payment to a visiting Judge.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners hereby approves the 55th District Courtís request to retain a visiting Judge until such time that the newly appointed Judge takes the bench.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners directs the Controller to transfer the funds for this purpose out of the 2005 Contingency Fund to the 55th District Courtís 2005 budget by increasing the Visiting Judges line item (101.13700.65.861020) up $6120 if necessary, based on actual days served and mileage used.
JUDICIARY:† Yeas:† Holman, Weatherwax-Grant, Nolan, Swope, Schafer
†††††† Nays:†††† None ††††††††††††††††††††††Absent:† Dougan††††† Approved 6/16/05
FINANCE:† Yeas:† Swope, Hertel, Schor, Dougan
††††† Nays:††††††† None††††††††††††††††††† Absent:† Thomas, Dedden††††††† Approved 6/22/05
55th District Court has processed the retirements of two District Judges within six months.† The internal affect of these retirements warrants the need for judicial coverage until such time the Governor appoints a new Judge.† Most importantly, the Court is concerned with the caseflow timeliness of moving cases and revenue generation.†
In an effort to make the transition to the bench more tasteful for the newly appointed Judge and more efficient for the Court, the need for additional judicial services must be addressed.† Currently, the Criminal Department is scheduling cases into late September.† This will cause a major backlog at the end of the year and create a significant amount of pressure for the Court and newly selected Judge to process the backlog by yearís end.† This will be impossible to do.† The increase in traffic filings during the summer will also create a backlog for any defendant requesting a formal hearing before a District Judge.† State guidelines indicate the Court must continue to process all felonies and landlord tenant cases within 14 days.† The Court is currently exceeding (scheduling beyond 14 days) this deadline for landlord tenant cases.† The biggest affect thus far has been on the Criminal Division of the Court.† Judge McCabe handled criminal cases 5 days a week.†† The assistance of the East Lansing Judges does not allow the Court to handle a quarter of these cases when you factor in probation violations, general civil and motions Ė just to name a few.
Although the Prosecutorís Office has been most helpful and willing to adjust to many changes, the absence of a second Judge has created scheduling nightmares for their department.† A close-to-normal schedule will assist them with their case processing as well.
The Court would like to acquire a Judicial Officer two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for July and August.† It is very possible that coverage will not be needed through the end of August.† The assistance from East Lansing/54B will cover the remaining three days.† There is no cost for this assistance.† The Court is negotiating with several retired Judges (in the region II area) on payment for services rendered.† Although there is no specific amount available at this time, SCAO indicates that the cost per day could range from $200 to $600.† As soon as the Court has an agreed upon figure the County will be immediately notified.† Until then, it is suggested to utilize the funds allocated in personnel costs for Judge McCabe during 2006.