In 2019, the way judgeships are allocated in Livingston County’s court system will change, following a state recommendation and local approval.

On Tuesday, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to eliminate a district court judgeship effective December 31st, 2018, and add a circuit court judgeship on January 1st, 2019. The reallocated positions stems from a recommendation from the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). SCAO conducts a biennial review of the state’s judicial needs starting with a statistical analysis, which determines if there is a noteworthy judicial need or excess in each county in the state. It was found that that was the case for Livingston County, which required a secondary analysis. From that, SCAO recommended elimination of a district court judgeship and the addition of a circuit court seat.

Due to Michigan’s mandatory retirement age for judges, 53rd District Court Judge Carol Sue Reader will not be running again in the 2018 general election. Her seat will be eliminated and a new judge will be elected to the 44th Circuit Court. The current number of six judgeships in the county will remain the same in 2019; it is only the allocation that will change. The 44th Circuit Court will then have three judgeships, 53rd District Court will have two, and Probate Court will have one.

In a letter to commissioners, Chief Judge David Reader stated that though Livingston County is 11th in size in the state, it is the only one among the top 17 counties without a business court. The added circuit judge in 2019 would permit the creation of a business court, which Judge Reader says will enhance the timely resolution of those types of cases.

Board of Commissioners Chair Kate Lawrence says the county has not altered the structure of their court system in quite some time and that it is a "significant change". (DK)