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53rd District Court - Livingston County

The 53rd District Court is the only district court located in Livingston County. It handles a variety of criminal and civil matters for all of Livingston County. The 53rd District Court has two active judges, including the Honorable Shauna N. Murphy and the Honorable Daniel B. Bain. Additionally, this court has several magistrates who handle criminal arraignments, small claims cases, traffic tickets, landlord/tenant disputes, probation matters, weddings, and requests for warrants by local and state police.

Jurisdiction of the 53rd District Court

The 53rd District Court is located at 204 S Highlander Way, Howell, MI 48843. The Court services all communities in Livingston County, including the City of Brighton and Brighton Township, Cohoctah Township, Conway Township, Deerfield Township, Genoa Township, Green Oak Charter Township, Hamburg Township, Handy Township, Hartland Township, the City of Howell and Howell Township, Iosco Township, Marion Township, Osceola Township, Putnam Township, Tyrone Township, Unadilla Township, the Village of Fowlerville, and the Village of Pinckney.

The court’s website can be accessed at:

The 53rd District Court is separated into 4 primary divisions:

  1. Traffic Division - deals with citations and civil infraction tickets issued by local police departments and the Michigan State Police.

  2. Criminal Division - processes paperwork from local police departments, the Michigan State Police, and local and state prosecutors. The District Court has the exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal matters where the maximum penalty does not exceed 1-year in jail, also known as "misdemeanors." The Court also handles the initial process of all felony charges allegedly committed in Livingston County, MI. These felony matters first begin with an arraignment, followed by a probable cause conference ("PCC") and ultimately a preliminary examination ("PE"). A preliminary examination is a hearing conducted to determine if the prosecution has sufficient evidence to show that a crime was committed and it is more likely than not that the accused committed that crime. If the prosecution proves both of these elements, the case is bound over for trial to the Livingston County Circuit Court, located in the same building as the 53rd District Court. The Livingston County Circuit Court is also known as the 44th Circuit Court.

  3. Probation Department - handles pre-sentence investigation interviews, substance abuse evaluations, probation supervision, and probation violation hearings for misdemeanor offenses.

  4. Civil Division - the civil division of the 53rd District Court is divided into three subdivisions that handle the following matters:

    1. General Civil Matters – deals with case that involve monetary damage claims under $25,000.00.

    2. Small Claims – small claims cases that are handled in the 53rd District Court have monetary damage claims of up to $6,500.00, any claims for monetary damages beyond $6,500.00 must be filed in the general civil division. It is important to know that when cases are handled in small claims court, there are no judges, no juries, and no right to appeal.

    3. Landlord/Tenant Issues – the landlord/tenant division of the 53rd District Court deals primarily with proceedings regarding a landlord's attempt to regain possession of real property through an eviction action against a tenant or to obtain a monetary judgement against a tenant for costs related to a lease agreement.

Common Criminal Charges in the 53rd District Court

Common criminal and traffic charges in the 53rd District Court include: assault and battery, aggravated assault, disturbing the peace, operating while intoxicated (OWI/DUI), operating while visibly impaired (OWVI), operating under the influence of drugs (OUID), domestic violence, retail fraud (theft), reckless driving, careless driving, speeding, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, moving violation causing serious impairment, disorderly persons, trespassing, assaulting/obstructing/resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance, larceny, and more.

Criminal Prosecutions in the 53rd District Court

The Livingston County Prosecutor's Office is responsible for prosecuting civil infractions, misdemeanors, and the initiation of felony charges in the 53rd District Court. David J. Reader is the current elected prosecutor for Livingston County. The Livingston County Prosecutor's Office is located at 210 S Highlander Way, Howell, MI 48843.

Spencer M. Bondy & the 53rd District Court

I regularly appear in the 53rd District Court and have handled numerous criminal matters in Livingston County and its local communities. I am familiar with the policies, procedures, and requirements of the Court Administration and each individual Judge. I have consistently obtained outstanding results for my clients facing serious legal issues, including direct and collateral consequences from criminal charges in this Court. If you have a matter in the 53rd District Court, please contact me today.


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