Detroit's 36th District Court gets new chief judge in William McConico

The Michigan Supreme Court has named a new head judge for Detroit's 36th District Court.

Judge William McConico, who currently hears  cases on the court's criminal docket, will take over as chief judge in January. The announcement was made Friday and was made among other Michigan judicial appointments, said John Nevin, spokesman for the state Supreme Court.

Judge William McConico has been appointed as chief judge of 36th District Court in Detroit starting in January 2020.

"Chief judges are all focused on making sure that local trial courts are open, accessible, efficient and engaged with their local communities," Nevin said.

McConico succeeds current 36th District Court Chief Judge Nancy Blount, who was appointed in August 2013. Blount, who has been on the court since 1983, will remain on the court, which has 33 judges and five magistrates.

Considered troubled and under-performing, the 36th District Court has made reforms over the past few years. Among the changes are physical improvements as well as improved customer-service, including kiosks for paying tickets and fines, according to the National Center for State Courts.

McConico has served on the the 36th District Court since 2010. 

"Every other year, the Supreme Court undertakes an extensive application and review process to select chief judges for all 242 courts statewide," Nevin said. "Each chief judge brings different strengths to the job that are appropriate to address the challenges the court is facing at the time.”

McConico has come under fire from Detroit Police Chief James Craig over the judge's handling of bonds in some cases.

Last year, Craig and some other Detroit police officers condemned McConico after he reduced the bond of an alleged habitual offender, who was deemed mentally ill and allegedly shot at Detroit police officers in May 2017 following a foot chase by police.

McConico defended his bond decisions and has argued that some of the criticism against him stems from his rejection of a request to reduce bail for a former Michigan State Police trooper, who was eventually sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the stun gun death of 15-year-old ATV rider Damon Grimes during a pursuit.

McConico couldn't be reached Monday for comment on his appointment.

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