Last updated: November 8, 2013
The University of Michigan has given Ann Arbor a well-deserved reputation as a college town. As a major hub of the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the “People’s Republic of Ann Arbor” has a legacy of leaning to the left on the political spectrum which continues to this day. But Ann Arborites know nothing beats a day watching Wolverines football in The Big House, the largest college stadium in the world.
The court situation in Ann Arbor is confusing at best, so Findlaw has created this guide to help you sort out which is the right Ann Arbor courthouse for you.
Good to know: The Washtenaw County Trial Court houses the Circuit Court for Washtenaw County. The Circuit Court handles large civil lawsuits worth more than $25,000. They also hear serious criminal cases, felonies, and gross misdemeanors where the defendant may face more than a one-year sentence. This court also has a family division for family law matters, domestic violence, juvenile matters and probate law.
Good to know: The Ann Arbor Justice Center houses the 14D District Court. They handle smaller cases on both the civil and criminal side; small claims court, civil actions worth less than $25,000, landlord-tenant issues, most misdemeanors and traffic violations. Avoid lines by paying your ticket online. Small claims cases enjoy relaxed procedure and evidentiary law, but you must waive the right to a jury trial and cannot use the services of a lawyer. Visit the Small Claims Self-Help Center for more information.
Good to know: 14A-1 District Court presides over Pittsfiled, Augusta, Barton Hills and Ypsilanti for all small civil, landlord-tennant and small claims matters. This is where small civil cases generally are handled.
Good to know: 14A-2 District Court presides over Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Augusta, Salem and Barton Hills. They are the criminal misdemeanor and traffic counterpart to 14A-1.
Good to know: 14A-3 District Court presides over the Chelsea, Dexter, Lima, Lyndon, Northfield, Scio, Sylvan and Webster. They handle criminal misdemeanor and traffic cases only.
Good to know: 14A-4 District Court handles criminal misdemeanors, traffic infractions, small claims, small civil lawsuits and landlord-tenant cases. They take criminal and civil cases from Saline, Milan, Bridgewater, Freedom, Lodi, Sharon, York, and Manchester, but only civil cases from Dexter, Chelsea, Lima, Lyndon, Northfield, Scio, Sylvan and Webster.
Good to know: 14B District Court only handles cases arising from Ypsilanti. They have jurisdiction over most criminal misdemeanors, traffic violations, small claims court, landlord-tenant issues and civil lawsuits worth less than $25,000. If you got a ticket, pay online to save the hassle.
Good to know: The Federal Building in Ann Arbor houses a branch of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, which is based in Detroit. This court handles federal matters exclusively. The Eastern District of Michigan lay within the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, and it headquartered in Cincinnati. If you are representing yourself browse their list of forms to find the proper one. The best places to park are the lot on Fourth Ave. and E. William St., or the lot next to the library on Fifth Ave., though there is metered parking on the streets.