Supreme Court public hearing set for Sept. 27

A proposed rule that defines "court records" and "public records"--and that would govern access to court records--leads the agenda for the Michigan Supreme Court's public administrative hearing at 9 a.m. on Thursday, September 27 in the Supreme Court courtroom on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing.

The Court's administrative hearings are open to the public. Anyone who wishes to address the Court on an agenda item may reserve a place on the agenda by contacting the Clerk of the Court via e-mail at MSC_ clerk@ courts.mi.gov or in writing at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909.

In addition to addressing access to court records, the first agenda item includes proposed rules for access and reproduction fees for public records. For example, the proposed rule provides that a court may not charge access or reproduction fees for case records "that the court is required by law or court rule to provide without charge to a person or other entity," regardless of whether the record is electronic or in some other form. Courts also may not charge for electronic access to court records via a public court terminal "or when a verbal request for public information is made on-site to the clerk."

But the court or a vendor may charge for off-site electronic access, the proposal states, and a court may charge reproduction costs based on "the actual cost of labor and supplies and the actual use of the system, including printing from a public terminal ...."

Among other matters, the proposal addresses the duties of court clerks for keeping court records and record retention policies.

The court will also consider a proposed court rule change for cases in which a crime victim or prosecutor opposes the Michigan Parole Board's decision to grant parole to a prisoner. Under the rule, which was proposed by the State Bar of Michigan Prisons & Corrections Section, "the court shall appoint" an attorney to represent the prisoner in the parole challenge if the prisoner makes a timely request and the court determines that the prisoner cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

Proposals for all public hearing items and related comments are online at http://www. courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Resources/Administrative/index.htm#proposed.

Published: Thu, Sep 20, 2012

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