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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 07/23/14
COURT IN SESSION. The 42-1 District Court in Romeo will remain in its current facility at 33 Mile Road west of Powell Road following a report from the State Court Administrative Office. The state office visited the court in April to assess its operations and recommend whether it should re-locate to the 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore or not.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
42-1 District Court to stay at Romeo location
by CHRIS GRAYThe 42-1 District Court in Romeo will remain in place for the time being.
Observer Staff Writer
The results from a report by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) recommended that the court, located on 33 Mile Road west of Powell Road, remain at its current facilities instead of moving to New Baltimore.
SCAO representatives visited the court in April to evaluate the feasibility of consolidating its operations with its sister court, the 42-2 District Court, located on 23 Mile Road.
Judge Denis LeDuc said he received the SCAO's report on July 10, which advised against such actions in the near future. He said he and Judge William Hackel were in agreement with the decision.
"We didn't feel like it was feasible, and we felt that it would be diminished services to the respective areas," he said.
LeDuc didn't comment on the details in the report, but did say the move would've hindered local law enforcement and made it more difficult for residents to take care of court dealings by requiring them to drive down to New Baltimore.
He said the fact that the county building for the court is entirely paid for and the facilities down at New Baltimore didn't have adequate parking for two courts likely had a factor.
"There would've had to have been a significant number of alterations to the (42-2) building," he said. "They realized it would've been significant expenditures."
District 7 County Commissioner Don Brown said he worked with county officials to help support the effort to keep the court in place, saying it makes no sense for such a move.
"The north end of the county communicated that the court plays an important role in northern Macomb County and serves the people of northern Macomb County very effectively," he said. "That court is going to become a busier place with the growth happening up here."
Brown said he would continue to fight for the court to remain in Romeo if it ever comes up again. LeDuc said the issue may come up again in the future, but for now it seems the court will stay. He said consolidation talks have occurred at least three times in the past and came up again about five years ago, but was ultimately rejected.
The decision gives the 42-1 District Court a firm base to stand on in its continued quest to become a drug and sobriety court.
LeDuc said there are no drug or sobriety courts north of Clinton Township.
"We're feeling good about it, we've got our paperwork together, we feel that we've put together really cogent reasons," he said. "We think it's absolutely essential, and I think the time has come."
He said these reasons include the growth occurring in the northern end of the county as well as most offenders with drug or alcohol charges don't have reliable transportation to travel to the southern half of the county.
As an example, LeDuc said he had eight cases last week that were referred to the drug court in Clinton Township or the sobriety court in Roseville.
"They're on probation in my court, but the terms and conditions of their probation are full and complete compliance and cooperation and success with the respective courts," he said.
More importantly, though, he said incarceration doesn't truly address drug or alcohol problems, while drug and sobriety courts emphasize intensive counseling, treatments and interactions with counselors and probation officers.
"We would look for the best, appropriate candidate that would respond to that type of program," he said. "I think there is going to be a real benefit to our citizenry."
He said the decision is up to the state, which will have to weigh the proposal against the available funds and resources. LeDuc said he doesn't have a timeline on when a decision would be made.
The 42-1 court serves the communities of Armada, Bruce, Memphis, Ray, Romeo, Richmond and Washington.