55th District Court issues annual report

By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

The year 2009 saw many changes at the 55th District Court in Mason, MI. Judge Donald Allen, Jr. was appointed to the district court, taking the bench on January 1st. The court put in place a new case management system--Judicial Information Systems (JIS), the Michigan Supreme Court's case management program---a project that "is one of the most important undertaken by the district court in many years," said Hon. Thomas P. Boyd, Judge, 55th District Court.

Other changes included the addition of a new court administrator, Mike Dillon, the loss of a chief clerk who was not replaced due to budgetary constraints, and the appointment of a new chief probation officer.

According to Judge Boyd, "the pending caseload at the beginning of 2009 was approximately 8,190 cases. In addition, the court processed 27,151 new cases and disposed of 29,212 cases." Fifty-fifth District Court ranks 6th in the number of total new filings for courts listed in Region II.

In the Civil Division, the new filings in 2009 were slightly lower compared to 2008. The filings for the year were:

--3,022 General Civil Cases filed--98% cleared

--568 Small Claims cases--83% cleared

--1894 Summary Proceedings--102% cleared indicating a reduction in the backlog

New filing trends for felonies and misdemeanors were up slightly compared to 2008.

--1069 felonies--99.8% cleared

--2,944 misdemeanors--99.2% cleared

--675 drunk driving--92.5% cleared

Traffic citations, parking violations, and non-traffic civil infractions were down from 2008. The clearance rates for traffic and non-traffic citations were close to 100%, while clearance for parking violations was 66%. Probation received 965 new cases, drunk driving and controlled substance offenses accounting for 59% of the total with theft (15%) and assaultive crimes (10%) at slightly lower rates.

55th District Court took in $2,387,809 in revenue during the year. Criminal and traffic accounted for $1,646,025, Probation $328,742, and Civil Fees $252,547. The State of Michigan contributed $141,145 to the court for juror reimbursement, drunk/drugged driving assistance and State judges supplement. Judge Boyd anticipates that revenue will be down in 2010 due, in part, to fewer police officers on the road writing traffic tickets, and fewer crimes being processed.

The court has personnel costs, operating expenses, and trial expenses that total $2,249,416. Moneys collected are disbursed according to an established formula to the Ingham County Treasurer, Ingham Libraries, local municipalities and the State of Michigan. Meridian Township and Delhi Township receive the majority of the fines and costs collected by the court.

Judge Donald Allen, Jr., Chief Judge Pro Tem, in presenting the report noted "although faced with budgetary challenges in 2009, the Court continued with its focus on the delivery of services in a prompt, efficient, and professional manner."

The complete report is available on the Court's website at http://www.ingham.org/DC.

Published: Thu, Jun 17, 2010