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Detroit's 36th District Court closing as COVID cases spike

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

The chief judge at 36th District Court in Detroit announced Tuesday the city court will be closed for three weeks because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The closure is effective Wednesday and will suspend proceedings at the court with the exception of felony arraignments, emergency evictions and virtual felony exams, Chief Judge William C. McConico said.

36th District Court Judge William McConico hears a case at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit earlier this year.

All adjourned proceedings will be scheduled for a later date and McConico said all parties will be notified of the delays.

The temporary suspension of the court is in effect through Dec. 8. 

It is the second time in less than a month that the court has suspended all in-person proceedings and hearings; it also did so Nov. 5.

Court officials noted Detroit has seen its COVID-19 positivity rate nearly triple in the last few weeks, adding that further preventative measures are "crucial" in the wake of the virus' spread locally and statewide. 

Michigan added 7,458 more coronavirus cases and 79 deaths Tuesday, including cases from Sunday, increasing the state's total number of confirmed cases to 272,034, according to tracking by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan shattered its weekly coronavirus case record last week with a total of 44,019 new cases reported, the fifth consecutive record week for confirmed infections.

 McConico stated, “Even though our numbers may not be as high as those in surrounding areas, this virus disproportionately inflicts serious harm and death upon people of color. The impact of COVID-19 on the city of Detroit has been dire and extensive.”

The judge added: '“The 36th District Court now needs to do its part to keep the public and our employees safe. Taking this precaution may likely save lives and prevent serious illness. It will also ensure that the court is in a good position to continue operations in three weeks. As has been the case throughout this pandemic, I will remain in contact with the Detroit Health Department and monitor the situation as we move forward.”

McConico and court officials directed residents and other to log on to the court website, www.36thdistrictcourt.org, for further updates.