LANSING, Michigan — The agency that oversees Michigan's court system urged lawmakers Thursday to eliminate nine judicial posts around the state and add three in suburban Detroit.
It's the latest analysis from the State Court Administrative Office, which looks at caseloads, population, technology and other factors. Even if approved by lawmakers, no cuts would be made until a current judge dies or retires. A judge can't run for election after turning 70.
"Judges statewide are committed to sharing resources, eliminating waste, balancing workloads and strengthening our commitment to the highest level of service to the public," said Robert Young Jr., chief justice at the Michigan Supreme Court.
The report recommends an additional Circuit Court judge in Oakland and Macomb counties and another District Court judge in Royal Oak.
It says a total of five District Court judges should be cut in Detroit, Berrien County, Delta County, 52nd District Court in Oakland County and the court serving Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties.
The report recommends dropping one Probate Court judge in each of four counties: Ingham, Monroe, St. Clair and Saginaw. A state lawmaker from Monroe County said it would a "disservice."
"The Legislature has not always followed these reports to the letter," Republican Rep. Jason Sheppard said.
Since 2011, 25 of 45 judicial posts eliminated by the Legislature have been closed, saving more than $6 million, the state court office said. The others will remain open until a death or retirement.
The agency's analysis shows how some courts aren't as busy as others. For example, four judges and a part-time judge serve Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties in the western Upper Peninsula, but they have only 38 percent of a full workload, the report said.