36th District Court Of Michigan

The 36th District Court is one of the largest and busiest courts in the United States. Most of the citizens of Detroit will have their first contact with the judicial system through the district court. For this reason, it is often referred to as the "People's Court".

While the 36th District Court processes over 500,000 cases each year, it is a court of limited jurisdiction. This means that its authority is limited to only those actions that have been defined by state law. This court has original jurisdiction for the following actions occurring in the city of Detroit:


| All Traffic and Ordinance Violations

| All Criminal Misdemeanor Cases

| Preliminary Examinations for Felony Cases

| Small Claims Suits

| Civil Lawsuits (other than small claims) for Amounts up to $25,000.00

| All Real Estate Matters Involving Rent and Land Contract Disputes



A chief judge presides over the Court and oversees 30 judges and six magistrates.
A Court Administrator oversees all of the operations of the Court and approximately
500 staff.

Court Division Locations:

Civil and Domestic Division
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

Criminal Division
Frank Murphy Hall of Justice
1441 St. Antoine
Detroit, MI 48226

Juvenile Division
Lincoln Hall of Justice
1025 East Forest
Detroit, MI 48207

Friend of the Court Division
Penobscot Building
645 Griswold
Detroit, MI 48226

United States Eastern District Federal Court

The United States District Court for the District of Michigan was established on July 1, 1836, by 5 Stat. 61, with a single judgeship.

The district court was not assigned to a judicial circuit, but was granted the same jurisdiction as United States circuit courts, except in appeals and writs of error, which were the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Due to the so-called "Toledo War", a boundary dispute with Ohio, Michigan did not become a state of the Union until January 26, 1837. On March 3, 1837, Congress passed an act that repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of Michigan, assigned the District of Michigan to the Seventh Circuit, and established a U.S. circuit court for the district, 5 Stat. 176.

On July 15, 1862, Congress reorganized the circuits and assigned Michigan to the Eighth Circuit by 12 Stat. 576, and on January 28, 1863, the Congress again reorganized Seventh and Eight Circuits and assigned Michigan to the Seventh Circuit, by 12 Stat. 637. On February 24, 1863, Congress divided the District of Michigan into the Eastern and the Western Districts, with one judgeship authorized for each district, by 12 Stat. 660.

Ross Wilkins, who had been the only district judge to serve the District of Michigan, was reassigned to the Eastern District.