86th District CourtServing Grand Traverse, Antrim and Leelanau Counties
Domestic Violence Court
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT
Hon. Thomas J. Phillips, Presiding Judge
The Trial Court's Criminal Division has a separate docket, referred to as the Domestic Violence Court, which handles all misdemeanor charges of domestic violence filed in Antrim and Grand Traverse Counties. Judge Thomas J. Phillips presides over the Domestic Violence Court at the Antrim and Grand Traverse County Courthouses. Having a specialized court permits domestic violence cases to come to trial quickly so that those cases are decided not only fairly but swiftly.
Cases typically come to trial within three to four weeks of arrest. Prompt court action enhances the safety of domestic violence victims and leads to prompt punishment and treatment of convicted offenders.
• Women's Resource Center
• Michigan Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
• National Domestic Violence Hotline
• Office On Violence Against Women
• ABA Commission On Domestic Violence
• Michigan Crime Victims Website
CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS
Under the Crime Victims Rights Act of 1985, you have the right to:
• Be present during the entire trial unless you are to be called as a witness.
• Be free from threats or acts of discharge from your employer because you
are subpoenaed or requested by the Court to testify in court.
• Be provided with a waiting area separate from the defendant.
• Consult with the Prosecuting Attorney to give your views about the
disposition of this crime.
• Receive the name of a person to contact regarding information about
• Receive notice of any scheduled court proceeding.
• Confer with the Prosecuting Attorney prior to the selection of the jury
• Receive written notice of the defendant's conviction.
• Have your written impact statement included in the pre-sentence report.
• Make an oral impact statement at the time of sentencing.
• Be notified of the time and place of sentencing.
POST SENTENCE RIGHTS
Victims are entitled to additional rights following conviction if the defendant is sentenced to prison or jail, or if the defendant appeals their conviction. Further information will be provided at that time.
TELL THE TRUTH. The single most important item of advice is to tell the truth.
DRESS NEATLY. It is important that you are dressed appropriately in court.
BE PREPARED. Think about the answers you will give to the questions you
probably will be asked.
STICK TO THE FACTS. The Judge wants to hear only the facts as you know
them to be, not what someone else has told you.
RELAX, SPEAK CLEARLY. You have nothing to fear when giving true
answers. When you are asked questions, give the Judge your answer as
clearly and concise as possible.
• One of the basic rules in a criminal case is that both sides have the chance
to question the witness. Questions asked by both sides have the same
goal: to find out what is true.
• Don't let the defense lawyer upset you. It may seem at times that he is
trying to pin you down, but he has the right to test how many facts you
know and remember.
• Answer all questions to the point. It is the responsibility of the lawyer to
bring out the truth by asking questions.
• If you can answer a question with a single yes or no, do so. Answer only
questions asked. Do not volunteer additional information.
• If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Do not guess or
• If you don't understand or didn't hear the question, ask that it be
explained or repeated.
• If either lawyer raises an objection, stop speaking at once. After the
Judge has ruled, you will be asked to go on.
At sentencing, the Judge will consider the information in the pre-sentence report and the victim impact statement. Determination of the sentence is the Judge's sole responsibility. In Circuit Court, the Judge will also consult the sentencing guidelines established by the Michigan Supreme Court as a reference for framing an appropriate sentence. The Judge may consider different alternatives such as a fine, probation, community service, a sentence to jail or prison, or a combination. The Judge may also order the defendant to make restitution to the victim.