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What We Do:
The staff of 65B District Court is divided into four main areas and has jurisdiction over the following:
Traffic Division: Misdemeanors, Civil Infractions, and Parking Citations. Informal Hearings are held before the Magistrate.
Criminal Division: Arraignments and preliminary examinations for felonies (punishment exceeds one year imprisonment). Arraignments and both jury and non-jury trials for misdemeanors and traffic offences (one year or less imprisonment). State and Municipal Civil Infractions. Civil Infraction Formal Hearings are held before the District Court Judge. Issuance of Arrest and Search Warrants with probable cause.
Civil: Small Claims (claims not exceeding $5000). General Civil (claims not exceeding $25,000). Landlord-Tenant disputes. Land Contract forfeitures.
Probation: Conducts pre-sentence investigations. Performs alcohol assessment as part of pre-sentence investigations. Monitors and supervises defendants placed on probation.
Who does this work?
The District Court Judge is elected by the people of Gratiot County to serve a six year term. Judge McDonald was elected by the voters as District Court Judge of the 65B District Court in GratiotCounty for a six year term commencing January 2009. Prior to his election, Judge McDonald spent 29 years in the private practice of law in Gratiot County representing clients in a wide variety of criminal and civil legal matters in Circuit, Juvenile, Probate and District Courts throughout numerous counties in Michigan. Judge McDonald devoted a substantial portion of his practice to all civil and criminal matters handled by the District Courts. Prior to his election, Judge McDonald served in various community service capacities and was also an elected Alma City Commissioner for 14 years and served 8 years as Mayor of the City of Alma. A lifelong resident of GratiotCounty, Judge McDonald has been married to his wife Dorothy for 30 years and they have two adult children and four grandchildren. Bringing substantial experience to the bench, Judge McDonald’s commitment to all who are involved in District Court is to provide full, fair and equal access to justice in the court in an orderly, efficient and respectful manner. Judge McDonald is fiscally conservative with taxpayer funds and strives to operate the court for the benefit of all affected by its operations in the most cost effective manner possible. Protecting and promoting public safety in our Gratiot communities and balancing our community needs for strong law enforcement with protection of our individual constitutional and due process rights is a paramount and continuing priority for Judge McDonald in his position as judge of the District Court
The Court Administrator serves under the direction of the State Court Administrative Office and the District Judge, and oversees the day-to-day operation of the court. The court administrator is required to ensure statutory compliance by the court in all areas of court administration, including but not limited to SCAO reporting, LEIN reporting and SOS reporting.
Court Magistrates are appointed by the District Judge and approved by the county board of commissioners, to assist with judicial duties, review and authorize criminal warrants, conduct informal civil infraction traffic hearings and perform weddings during court hours.
The court recorder also serves as the judicial secretary, is certified by the state and makes, maintains, and transcribes court recordings of all court proceedings.
Deputy court clerks – Criminal Division; Bookkeeper ; Traffic Division; and Civil Division; are appointed by the Judge and are responsible to handle the criminal, traffic, and civil docket caseload and bookkeeping and financial reporting duties of the court under the supervision of the Court Administrator.
Two probation officers administer, manage and supervise all defendants placed on probation by the District Judge and are responsible for all aspects of substance abuse testing, counseling and compliance with all court orders for the entire caseload of the probation department.
Who do you serve?
The 65B District Court has jurisdiction over all of Gratiot County, Michigan, including it's 16 townships; the cities of Alma, Ithaca, and St. Louis; and the villages of Ashley, Breckenridge, and Perrinton.
Visitors with disabilities who need accommodations or assistance may contact the court administrator in advance to make arrangements.