The following links are the most up-to-date new releases from your local Courts and the State of Michigan regarding the necessary precautions currently being taken to assist in the containment of COVID-19.
COMMUNICATION FROM THE GT COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE:
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all county buildings will be closed to unscheduled public access, and doors will be locked. Services will be provided by phone, online, and by scheduled appointments.
Some/most of the staff at the Prosecutor's Office will be working from home in the upcoming days and weeks. It will be best to contact them by email. Please visit the Grand Traverse County staff directory for email addresses.
Please Note: If you have any physical paperwork to get to the Prosecutor's Office (appearances, PCC forms, notices, stipulations, motions, briefs, police reports, medical records, etc.) please email them to us. Most staff will not have access to the fax machine or any physical mail during this time.
Communication from the 13th Circuit Court - Friend of the Court:
As a result of the ongoing Emergency Orders issued by the Governor, the State Court Administrator’s Office with the Supreme Court, local Grand Traverse County, and 13th Circuit Court Policy, the 'in-person' SMILE program is currently cancelled.
The standard alternative options outlined on the Order requiring SMILE remain available. In addition, the 13th Circuit Court Friend of the Court has provided an option to complete the SMILE program online.
The questionnaire will need to be submitted upon completion of viewing the video and the powerpoint to ensure the required attendance is recorded. Parties will need to submit the completed questionnaire to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 922-4574, or dropped off at the courthouse, or mailed to 328 Washington TC 49684.
Communication from the 86th District Court:
1. We are finding that the prosecutor is having difficulty contacting pro per defendants for Pretrials. We will begin issuing a Show Cause Notice after the third attempt at scheduling a Pretrial.
If the defendant doesn't Zoom in for the Show Cause, the court will issue a warrant.
2. Some appointed attorneys are struggling trying to contact defendants for Pretrials. We will follow the same process above and expect the attorney to Zoom in when noticed.
3. We are currently in Phase 2 of reopening which allows for limited in person hearings. The judges will limit this to Preliminary Exams when the defendant or attorney request, otherwise, the judges would prefer to continue with Zoom. When a hearing is held in the courthouse, we will not permit guests, family members, support people, etc. The hearings will be available live on YouTube.
4. The jail currently does not have a Work Release program. If you have a client who has been told that they can have work release "if the jail" allows, you may want to contact them to let them know that that is not possible. The judges will no longer say that in court to avoid future confusion.
The 86th District Court - Grand Traverse division will begin jury selections in September. Jury selections will be conducted at the Old Town Playhouse.
The Court will be going back to the old method of picking jurors for 10-12 trials and setting the trials on another date. Trials will be held in the courthouse.
The 86th District Court requests that you file an actual paper appearance with the court. They understand that your appearance on the record can be your "appearance", however they are finding that if you don't file an appearance, you are not getting notices for hearings.
UPDATE - August 27, 2020:
Unfortunately, our plans to begin jury selections in the District Court have been thwarted by COVID-19. We had the approval from the health departments in early August, but they have rescinded the authorization so we are not permitted to move into Phase 3 at this time.
While there are considerations for jury trials in Phase 2, we do not meet that criteria either. So, if you were noticed for a jury selection next Friday, Sept. 4, please know that those will NOT be held and we would ask that you notify your client as well.
Also, to clarify, we would prefer all filings be sent via email to email@example.com. Please do NOT fax. If you send your filings via the email, please do not send the same documents to the court in the mail.
We only need the filing once. I hope that clears up any confusion.