As of October 2006, all district courts in Oakland County are participating in this program to allow defendants to enter a felony plea at the district court.
In this voluntary program, the defendant, defense attorney and prosecutor must agree to take the felony plea at the district court. The defendant will receive a felony plea packet that must be completed in its entirety, just as they would at the circuit court. If any party objects to the plea, the matter will be bound over to circuit court with an arraignment date as is the customary practice.
Defendants who choose to plead at district will be immediately bound over to the circuit court and a sentencing date will be set.
The benefits of this program affect the defendant, the court and the taxpayers. On many low-end felonies, defendants receive a sentence that includes time served while awaiting disposition of their cases. Entering a plea at district court eliminates the need for a circuit court arraignment and could reduce the length of stay in jail by two weeks or more. The shortened time frame between plea and sentence will also move inmates out of the jail more quickly, thereby reducing the population.