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Michigan District Judges Association

Michigan’s district courts celebrate their 50th birthday on June 17, 2018.  Courts around the state will be holding celebrations to com​memorate the day.


  • Anniversary Toolkit - to receive a toolkit that provides helpful tips on ideas for event(s), developing a website devoted to your court's celebration, how to use social media, and a sample media advisory and press release, please contact the Public Information Office at
  • List of Original District Court Judges​​​
  • Historical Articles 

  • As required by the 1963 Michigan Constitution, legislation passed in 1968 to create our district court syste​m. The effective date was June 17, 1968, and most courts began operation on January 1, 1969. The district court is often referred to as “The People’s Court,” because the public has more contact with the district court than with any other court in the state and because many people go to district court without an attorney.

    The district court has exclusive jurisdiction over all civil claims for damages up to $25,000, including small claims, landlord-tenant disputes, land contract disputes, and civil infractions. The court may also conduct marriages in a civil ceremony. The district court’s small claims division handles cases in which the amount in controversy is $5,000 or less. The most common civil infractions are minor traffic matters, such as speeding, failure to stop or yield, careless driving, and equipment and parking violations.

    District courts handle a wide range of criminal proceedings, including most misdemeanors, offenses for which the maximum possible penalty does not exceed one year in jail. In misdemeanor cases, the district court judge arraigns the defendant, sets and accepts bail, presides at the trial, and sentences the defendant. Typical district court misdemeanor offenses include driving under the influence of intoxicants, driving on a suspended license, simple assault, shoplifting, and possession of small amounts of marijuana. The district courts also conduct preliminary examinations in felony cases, after which, if the prosecutor provides sufficient proofs, the felony case is transferred to the circuit court for arraignment and trial.​​

    Revised Judicature Act of 1961 (EXCER​PT)

    Curr​​ent​ MDJA Officers:


    Shelia R. Johnson

    ​Vice President

    Beth Gibson


    Tim Kelly


    Michelle Appel

    ​Immediate Past President

    Thomas Boyd

    Past MDJA