The District Court, which was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1968 pursuant to constitutional mandate, has more citizen contact than any other court in our juducial system. The 86th District Court serves three counties.
Antrim County Grand Traverse County Leelanau County
205 E. Cayuga 280 Washington Street 8527 E. Government Center Drive
PO Box 597 Traverse CIty, MI 49684 Suite 201
Bellaire MI 49615 (231) 922-4580 Suttons Bay, MI 49682
(231) 533-6441 (231) 256-8250
The current judges are Honorable Thomas J. Phillips, who serves as Chief Judge, Honorable Michael S. Stepka and Honorable Michael J. Haley. Court is held in Traverse City every day of the week, in Antrim County on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in Leelanau County on Fridays.
The District Court is comprised of four divisions: The Civil Division handles cases that involve money or damage claims, as well as landlord/tenant disputes. The Criminal Division is responsible for processing paperwork filed by the police departments, state law and local ordinance prosecutors. The Traffic Division processes citations written by police departments. Finally, the Probation Department is responsible for conducting Pre-sentence Investigations, Alcohol Assessments, Probation Violation Hearings and supervision of offenders.
This court implemented the first Drug Treatment Court in northern Michigan in late 2001, wherein repeat offense drunk drivers are given the chance to participate in long-term court monitored treatment in lieu of jail. The goal of Sobriety Court is to reduce the incidence of drunk driving.
In 2003, a Domestic Violence docket was established which maintains a fast track for these types of cases and offers programs oriented toward supporting nonviolence and dealing with the underlying cause of the violent behavior.