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Navigating the Wayne County Circuit Court

The Wayne County Circuit Court, or the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, consists of several locations in Detroit, Michigan.

Posted 3 years ago by Jim Titus

Getting a bail bond in Wayne County is only the first step in a long process when someone has been charged with a felony. In most cases, arrests, arraignments, and preliminary examinations are held in the local district court where the crime was allegedly committed, but then the case is sent to the Wayne County Circuit Court (Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan) for trial. 

Before the trial, the process essentially starts over again with another arraignment in this court.

With Wayne being the largest county in Michigan and Detroit being one of the largest cities in the United States, navigating the Wayne County Circuit Court can be more challenging than knowing what you need to do in the district courts.

Whether you are the defendant or are trying to support a loved one accused of a felony, here are some answers to basic questions about the Third Circuit Court that may help you understand what you need to do and where you need to go.

How has COVID-19 changed processes at courts in Michigan?

The overarching policies and procedures remain the same, but there’s a greater chance that your case will be handled remotely rather than in person. You or your lawyer may also have to submit documents digitally as well. Additionally, the courts still require the use of masks in most cases and have social distancing policies in place.

Where is the Wayne County Circuit Court located?

The Third Circuit Court has several divisions and locations. For all intents and purposes, the “main” court is in the heart of downtown Detroit at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, located at 2 Woodward Avenue. Cases handled here include civil cases and family-domestic relations cases, but the building also serves as Detroit’s city hall. For that reason, it is frequently referred to by its former name, the City-County Building. It’s also known for the iconic Spirit of Detroit statue outside.

Criminal cases are handled in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, located at 1441 St. Antoine in Detroit, about a half-mile away from the Greektown Casino.

The three other divisions/offices of the court are:

  • Mediation Tribunal Association (case evaluation), 333 W. Fort Street in Detroit
  • Lincoln Hall of Justice (Family Division-Juvenile), 1025 E. Forest Avenue in Detroit
  • Penobscot Building (Friend of the Court for custody, parenting time, and child support issues), 645 Griswold in Detroit

Who are the current judges?

The Wayne County Circuit Court has nearly 60 judges in the various divisions. The current chief judge is Judge Timothy Kenny, and the chief judge pro tem is Judge Patricia Fresard, who also is the presiding judge over the Civil Division.

The other presiding judges are:

  • Judge Prentis Edwards Jr., Criminal Division
  • Judge Melissa Cox, Family-Domestic Division
  • Judge Edward Joseph, Family-Juvenile Division

Where is the Wayne County Jail?

That also is not as simple as one location. There are currently three divisions.

Where can I pay court-ordered fees in Detroit?

You can pay fees at all three of the primary Wayne County Circuit Court locations: the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, and the Lincoln Hall of Justice. You have the option of paying at kiosks with your MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover card.

How can I contact a live person?

You will have to investigate whom to contact first depending on the case and what information you are looking for. Find a list of phone numbers here and email addresses and other pertinent details on this page

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