Daily Briefs

36th District begins holding preliminary hearings at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice

On Thursday, the 36th District Court began holding its preliminary hearings at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, which houses the criminal division of the Wayne County Circuit Court.

The change will reduce the safety risks and time involved in transporting defendants from jail to 36th District Court, said Judge Michael J. Talbot, the 36th District’s special judicial administrator.

The change should also cut down on adjournments of preliminary hearings, Talbot added. Adjournments lead to increased jail time and delay, he said.

“The people who are involved in a preliminary exam — not only the defendant, but also the prosecutor, defense counsel, and law enforcement — work in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, but to attend preliminary hearings, they had to come over to 36th District,” Talbot explained.

“Very often, one or more of the people involved were in a hearing at Frank Murphy and could not make it to the 36th District in time for the hearing, so the court would adjourn the hearing, sometimes repeatedly. The result was that defendants were spending more time in jail — at taxpayer expense — and these cases were not being resolved in a timely way,” the judge said. “By holding preliminary hearings at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, we are cutting out one of the primary causes of delay.”

Judge Timothy M. Kenny, presiding judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court’s Criminal Division, said that the change offers benefits for his court also.

“From the circuit court’s perspective, having preliminary examinations in the circuit courthouse means that trial witnesses and attorneys will be more readily available for circuit court proceedings,” Kenny said. “Moreover, police officers frequently testify in multiple cases on the same day, so by having preliminary examinations at Frank Murphy, we’re reducing police officers’ travel time and associated delays.”

36th District Court Judge Kevin Robbins will serve as presiding judge of a group of four other 36th District judges assigned to hear preliminary hearings.


LAD to conduct free outreach clinics

Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. will conduct a free outreach clinic on civil legal services for income-eligible residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, including the city of Detroit, from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 16 at the HOPE Center, 33222 Groesbeck Highway, Fraser.

Attendees are asked to register before 10 a.m., as a LAD attorney will assist only those persons who have done so by that time.

For further information, call Tamika Smith-Jones, manager of LAD's Macomb County office in Mount Clemens, at (586) 465-1344, ext. 5004.

A clinic will also be held from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Oakland Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS), 6451 Schaefer Road, Dearborn.

Attendees are asked to register before 2 p.m., as a LAD attorney will assist only those persons who have done so by that time.

 For further information, contact LAD staff attorney Mayada Saroki at (313) 967-5801.


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