The court has three judges, three part-time magistrates and a full support staff to provide quality judicial services to southeast Michigan residents within their jurisdiction. It is comprised of four divisions: Civil, Criminal, Traffic, and Probation.
The current judges of the 52nd District Court, 3rd Division are the Honorable Julie A. Nicholson, Honorable Nancy T. Carniak, and the Honorable Lisa L. Asadoorian.
Parties to a case should not have direct contact with a judge via email or telephone.
52-3 is separated into 4 primary divisions including:
- Traffic Division deals with citations written by police departments.
- Civil Division handles cases that involve money or damage claims, and landlord/tenant disputes.
- Criminal Division processes paperwork from police departments, state law and ordinance prosecutors. Cases involve misdemeanor offenses, both traffic and non-traffic.
- Probation Department responsible for supervision of probationers, conducting pre-sentence investigations, alcohol assessments, and probation violation hearings.
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 judicial system.
Of the 258 District Court Judges in the State of Michigan, 33 are located in Oakland County, with three of those Judges currently sitting in the 3rd Division of the 52nd District Court.
Judge Robert L. Shipper was elected in 1968 to serve as the first Judge of the 52nd District Court, 3rd Division. In 1974, the Michigan State Legislature and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners authorized a second judgeship. In 1975, the Honorable Mildred A. Vlaich was elected to the bench. On January 1, 1981, the Honorable James P. Sheehy was elected to serve the community. In 1988, a third judgeship was authorized and the Honorable Ralph H. Nelson was elected to the bench.
The District Court has exclusive jurisdiction of civil matters involving claims not exceeding $25,000 in the following areas:
- Landlord/tenant eviction proceedings
- Land contract forfeitures
- Garnishments and executions, and other related proceedings
District Court also hears cases assigned by the Circuit Court on civil matters where claims exceed $25,000.
The District Court has the exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal matters where the maximum penalty does not exceed one year in jail. It also conducts preliminary examinations in all felony cases where penalty exceeds one year confinement. The preliminary exam is conducted to determine whether or not the prosecution has sufficient evidence to show the probability the defendant committed the crime charged. If the District Judge decides there is probable cause, the matter is sent to Circuit Court for trial.
The District Court also has the responsibility for all traffic violations involving civil infractions and misdemeanors such as speeding, reckless driving and operating while intoxicated.
The 3rd Division of the 52nd District Court, located in Rochester, serves the following communities: