Ex-chief judge fears 36th District Court could be dissolved - KMSP-TV

Ex-chief judge fears 36th District Court could be dissolved

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36th District Court in Detroit 36th District Court in Detroit
DETROIT (WJBK) -

With Kenneth King out as chief judge at Detroit's 36th District Court, the question now is who will take his place? Aside from that, what is the long term plan for the court?

Judge Michael Talbot was appointed to fix the court's financial woes, including a $5 million budget shortfall.

"It's either one of the two. Either he really doesn't know what he's doing, or this is part of a bigger plan," King said.

He said that larger plan is to dissolve 36th District Court. He believes the writing is on the wall from the roughly 100 layoffs to the possible closure of the Probation Department, not to mention the newly formed out of county collection program.

"They're advertising in other district courts that you can collect on Detroit tickets and give Detroit half the money," King said. "This all appears to be some kind of scheme to dissolve our court. I pray to God that I'm wrong."

It may sound far fetched, but it happened with the Recorder's Court in 1997.

Fox 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said dissolving the court would be disastrous.

"Detroit needs to have its own court. There's plenty of work to keep Detroiters busy, and when you go on a jury in Detroit, you want Detroiters," he said. "That's why Detroit should just keep its court."

"I would suspect that there are a lot of judges that want to be chief judge of the 36th District Court, but the key, though, is what judge can work with Michael Talbot."

"He is making administrative orders without the input of the duly elected officials," said Ray Paige.

The attorney has practiced in 36th District Court for 25 years. He has never seen morale so low.

"What difference does it make. As long as you got Michael Talbot there and the Supreme Court dictating policy, it doesn't matter who the successor might be," Paige said.

Talbot would not comment on King's removal or the long term plans for the court. However, a spokeswoman for the state Supreme Court said there are no plans to dissolve 36th District Court and no timetable for appointing a successor to King.

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