Court System Recommending Budget Cuts

Michigan’s judicial system is considering budget cuts.

The State Court Administrative Office says nearly 50 Michigan judgeships should be eliminated because caseloads are down.

Four Court of Appeals positions and 45 judge seats from trial courts wouldn’t be filled when those judges leave the bench.

9 of those 45 would be in the U.P.

The recommendations call for reducing Marquette County’s total from 7 judges to 5.

Dickinson, Iron and Menominee Counties also have a combined total of 7, and theirs would also drop to 5.

5 judges handle cases in Alger, Luce, Mackinac and Schoolcraft Counties.

That would be reduced to 4.

The 4 judges that hear cases in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties would be cut to 3.

4 full–time judges and a part–time judge cover Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties.

That would be reduced to 3, plus a part–timer.

In both Delta and Chippewa Counties, the judge roster would dip from 3 to 2.

The state legislature would have to approve any changes.

The State Court Administrative Office says Michigan would save more than $150,000 a year for each judge position it eliminates.

Circuit Judge Thomas Solka says the reductions shouldn’t have an immediate impact on Marquette County court operations or services.

He says in a written statement that if the recommendations are adopted, the reduction would occur gradually over a number of years, which will allow time time to plan for the change.