GRAND RAPIDS. MICH — The Kent County 63rd District Court is postponing all but "essential matters", many of which will be held virtually.
Court proceedings will not be handled in-person for the time being to protect the health of the staff and public.
"Chief Judge Jeffrey O’Hara and District Judge Sara Smolenski are closely monitoring this situation and will make any adjustments needed as this matter evolves." The courts announced Saturday night.
Arrangements are made for parties and attorneys to appear virtually:
o Felonies: all felony arraignments, probable cause conferences and preliminary examinations will continue as scheduled.
The court encourages all felony hearings to be conducted remotely. Attorneys should contact the court to arrange.
▪ Misdemeanor criminal trials are adjourned to a date after May 1, 2020. The court will send notice to appear.
▪ Misdemeanor arraignments, pleas and sentencing hearings are adjourned to a date after May 1, 2020. The court will send a notice to appear. However, a defendant may request an earlier date to appear remotely by video. To arrange, contact the court at DCCriminal@kentcountymi.gov
▪ Misdemeanor pretrial conferences will be conducted remotely. For instructions, contact the court at DCCriminal@kentcountymi.gov
• Show Cause Hearings are adjourned to a date after May 1, 2020. The court will send a notice to appear for the rescheduled date.
• Probation: Probation meetings are by phone only. The probation department is modifying some activities and will contact anyone affected.
• Civil Matters:
o All civil jury trials and bench trials; civil motions, mediations and other proceedings; small claims hearings; post-judgment collection discovery exams are adjourned to a date after May 1, 2020. The court will send all parties a notice with their rescheduled dates.
o However, all pretrial conferences and settlement conferences are mandatory and remain as scheduled, to be conducted remotely with the court.
o Pleadings must be mailed to the court with the filing fee.
• Landlord-Tenant: All existing summary proceeding (landlord-tenant) hearings and trials are adjourned to a date after May 1, 2020. The court will send a notice to appear for the rescheduled date. New cases will be set for hearing on or after May 1, 2020, except complaints alleging serious and continuing health hazard, etc., under MCL 600.5714(1)(d) which will be scheduled at the soonest available date. Parties with judgments of possession who are seeking court orders of eviction may file those requests and the court will act upon them. Persons objecting to an order of eviction may file a request to stay that eviction and a hearing will be scheduled at the earliest available date.
• Traffic, Civil Infractions and Ordinance Violations: All informal and formal hearings are adjourned to a date after May 1, 2020. The court will send all parties a notice with their rescheduled dates.
• Weddings: If you have a scheduled wedding, please contact the court for information. The court will not schedule any weddings until further notice.
Anyone needing further information is asked to contact DCCustomer@KentCountyMI.gov or call 616-632-7770. Payments to the court can be made here.