Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Michigan Chief Justice: State Could Lead in Criminal Justice Reform

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Michigan courts are set to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic and civil rights protests. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack says this is an opportunity to lead.

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As the state begins to open back up during the pandemic, courts are also grappling with how to resume cases.

In some ways, our task force work has put Michigan in a position to be a national leader in jail and pre-trial reform.” — Chief Justice Bridget McCormack

For housing cases alone, 17,000 landlord-tenant cases are filed each month in Michigan, creating a huge backlog for courts to deal with at a time when it’s not safe to go about business as usual in the courtroom.

Listen: Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice on criminal justice reform and re-opening courts. 


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Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormackMichigan Supreme Court

Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says Michigan has a chance to become a model among other states on criminal justice reform. Chief Justice McCormack has co-chaired a task force aimed at minimizing the growing jail population in the state.

In some ways, our task force work has put Michigan in a position to be a national leader in jail and pre-trial reform,” says McCormack. She adds that arrest diversion and deflection is among the most important consensus recommendations the task force has produced.

On courts re-opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, McCormack says that the courts want to make sure that remote technology being used for some cases is accessible and transparent. Safety for those who will be appearing in person at court will also be of the upmost importance.

It would be a terrible mistake to not get it right. We’re going to get it right,” says McCormack. 

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