Created by state law in 1968, the 19th District Court has been one of Michigan's busiest for over three decades. Its caseload exceeds 75,000 annually.
Three judges who are elected independently on non-partisan ballots for terms of six years serve the Dearborn Court. They have exclusive jurisdiction over:
Civil cases where the amount in dispute is less than $25,000. All parking and moving traffic violations occurring in the City of Dearborn
Misdemeanor cases where the penalty does not exceed a fine of $1,000 and/or one year in jail. This includes such offenses as shoplifting, assault and battery, possession of firearms, minor drug violations, drunk driving and reckless driving.
Arraignments, conducting preliminary examinations and setting the bail in felony cases where punishment exceeds one year in jail.
Small claims disputes where suits for money damages do not exceed $5,000.
Landlord/tenant disputes (non-payment of rent or eviction cases) and land contract or mortgage forfeitures where damages claimed are less than $25,000.
In addition to fines and/or jail terms, 19th District Judges frequently sentence those convicted to probation. Conditions of probation may include attending traffic school, assignment to the Community Work Program, or counseling in such areas as domestic violence or substance abuse.
District judges also are empowered to provide in-house counsel for indigents, officiate at weddings, and to issue search warrants and arrest warrants upon request from the state attorney general, Wayne County prosecutor or Dearborn city attorney.
The 19th District Court does not have jurisdiction over cases involving divorce, child custody, estates, name changes or persons who are mentally ill.