State Bar Association says Michigan needs court reform

Jan 26, 2011

The Michigan State Bar wants to change the way the state's courts work.

A task force of judges and lawyers are recommending changes they say will save the state money.

The Judicial Crossroads Task Force suggests:

  • consolidating trial courts
  • giving business cases higher priority
  • and letting existing judges retire without replacing them

Michigan has 246 separate courts and 586 judges.

The task force also has some changes in mind that will cost the state money in the short term.

They say improving how courts work with the child welfare system and poor criminal defendants, and providing all trial judges with state funded benefits are expensive but important .

Barry Howard, Chairperson of the task force, says the state may not be able to afford those changes just yet:

There are many recommendations that do involve some expenditures of cost and those we are going to be still working hard to decide how we implement them but they are not going to be immediate in the economy we’re facing.

The task force will now work with the State Supreme Court, the Governor and the Legislature on the recommendations.

Sarah Alvarez - Michigan Radio Newsroom