Michigan Court of Appeals announces 50th Anniversary celebration, activities

Januar 12, 2015 marked the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Michigan Court of Appeals.  The 1963 Michigan Constitution created the Court as Michigan’s intermediate appellate court, serving between the trial benches and the Michigan Supreme Court, and the Legislature later passed implementing legislation.  In short order, the Court:

—Opened its doors with nine elected judges from three districts organized by county lines and with roughly equal population.  Upon its opening, the Court had 45 employees;

—Started operations with 325 cases that were transferred from the Michigan Supreme Court before the Court of Appeals was fully organized; and

—Issued its first opinion on January 26, 1965.

Since its opening, 82 judges have served on the Court, the Court has issued over 151,700 dispositive opinions dealing with many of the most important legal issues that have faced the State of Michigan and its people, and the Court has been widely recognized as one of the premier intermediate appellate courts in the country.  In January 2014, the National Center for State Courts, after several intensive studies of the Court’s operations, made the following observations in its report:

“The Michigan Court of Appeals is as fine an example as we have found of business process discipline in the judicial branch, where court leaders have applied modern and innovative tools and techniques to operations management.  The court has a culture of innovation and cooperation, along with a high level of vision and competence in its judges and staff. . . .  Over time, the chief judges of the court have been supportive, staff has felt empowered, and everyone has worked together.  It is a well-organized, well-run operation that is, to an outsider, quite extraordinary.”  This was while William Murphy was Chief Judge of the Court.

Copies of the NCSC report excerpt and of the Court’s 2013 Annual Report can be found at http://courts.mi.gov/News-Events/press_releases/Documents/Attachments%20for%20news%20release.pdf, as can a recent group photograph of the judges of the Court and short biographies of each of the judges, along with a “By the Numbers” summary of the Court’s operations.

The Court plans to hold a celebration of its 50th Anniversary on April 30, 2015, at the Hall of Justice in Lansing.  The event will commence at 3:00 p.m. and will be followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m. at the State Bar headquarters, also in Lansing.  Save the date emails will come out shortly, to be followed by formal invitations.

Between now and April 30, the Court will:

—Create a webpage linked to the Court’s webpage and highlighted in the Michigan Supreme Court’s webpage;

—Publish, on a bi-weekly basis, a newsletter/blog containing 300-400 word vignettes about the Court’s past and present achievements;

— Develop podcasts consisting of excerpts from various panel discussions;

—Launch Facebook and Twitter campaigns to promote the 50th Anniversary Celebration, #MICOA50.

For further information, please contact Stacy Sellek at 517-373-0035 or selleks@courts.mi.gov.