bg

Home » District Court

41A District Court

 

Shelby Logo rgb 

Operating under the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order, effective midnight March 24, the Charter Township of Shelby closed Township Hall and all associated buildings until April 13. Residents may still call any township department to leave a voicemail message. Appropriate personnel will return calls as soon as possible. Residents can also email township staff at info@shelbytwp.org for general questions.

The 41 A District Court remains open for all essential matters during this time. The court is adjourning all but essential issues as there will be limited in-person assistance at the front counter. Make payments via the court's dropbox or online. Closures for the 41 A District Court are set by the State of Michigan’s Court Administrator. For more information on the court’s hours and access, please call the court at 586-739-7325.

Visit shelbytwp.org/local_government for a department directory. Information is also regularly updated at shelbytwp.org/covid-19.

Letter from Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis regarding "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order

Shelby Logo rgb
   ALERT: Please read before attending court   
  Payments can be made via dropbox or online.  
  How to Pay Online  


Mission Statement

The Michigan Judicial System serves the public, protects rights, interprets and upholds the law, and provides fair, accessible, effective and responsive forums for the resolution of civil, criminal and traffic matters.

The Michigan Judicial System will provide leadership for the continuous improvement of a justice system that is responsive to the diverse and changing needs of the public and accountable for the efficient and effective use of public resources.

The 41A District Court strives to ensure our actions are guided by the following values:
  • Access to Justice
  • Timeliness
  • Equality, Fairness and Integrity
  • Public Trust and Confidence

General Information
In 1968 the Legislature in Lansing established District Courts in Michigan to help relieve the overcrowded State Circuit Court. There are approximately 100 district courts in Michigan. The court that most people have contact with is the district court. The district court handles most traffic violations. The district court also hears both criminal and civil cases including small claims and landlord-tenant disputes. Civil disputes seeking money damages cannot exceed $25,000 in district court.


All criminal cases, for persons 17 years or older, are started in the district court.  The district court explains to the defendant the charges, his or her rights, and the possible consequences if convicted of the charge.  The court also determines the bail amount and collects bail.  If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by not more that one year in jail, the district court will conduct a trial and sentence the defendant if found guilty.  In felony cases (cases that are punishable by more than one year in prison) the district court will set the bail amount and hold a preliminary examination to determine if a crime was committed and if there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime.  If so, the case is transferred to the circuit court for trial.

The 41-A District Court hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Court is closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The Court accepts personal checks with proper identification in most instances. Bonds posted must be in cash, certified check or surety. Fines, costs, bonds and filing fees may be paid by credit card by calling Government Payment Services (GPS) at 888-604-7888.  You must have Pay Location Code #2322 when calling GPS.

The 41A District Court conducts weddings on Fridays at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is a $10 fee. Contact the civil division to schedule.

What you should know before you come to court
Security Search: All persons entering the 41A District Court are subject to a search of both their person and all belongings. A walk-through metal detector is in place and a physical inspection by security personnel of purses, handbags, briefcases and any items brought into the Court Building will be conducted.


Security Personnel: Have the discretion to confiscate any item, which may impose a threat to persons in the Court Building. Any items confiscated by Security Personnel will be disposed of and WILL NOT be returned under any circumstances. 

   Prohibited Items include, but are not limited to the following: 
  •       Guns
  •       Knives of any size or type
  •       Box-Cutters
  •       Razors
  •       Nail files or nail clippers
  •       Needles of any type
  •       Any type of chemical spray such as Mace

Judge
Honorable Douglas P. Shepherd
Elected in November 2000 as Judge of the 41A District Court covering the townships of Shelby and Macomb and the cities of Utica and Sterling Heights, Judge Shepherd is assigned to the Shelby Township division of the Court. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1977 from Oakland University and graduated from the Detroit College of Law in 1981. Prior to his election to the District Court bench, Judge Shepherd practiced law for nearly 20 years in Sterling Heights. 

Judge Shepherd is currently a member of the Macomb County Bar Association, Michigan Bar Association, Michigan District Court Judges Association, Italian-American Bar Association, King of Kings Lutheran Church of Shelby Township, Shelby Township Lions Club and the Italian-American Cultural Society. Judge Shepherd was elected as the President of the Macomb County District Judges Association for 2005.

Judge Shepherd is active in his community and participates in many local functions. Judge Shepherd believes in education and makes school visitation and instruction a part of his regular calendar. Judge Shepherd created the J.U.S.T. Program (Judges United with Students and Teachers) that takes his Courtroom into the classroom to educate high school students in the judicial system and bring an awareness of the consequences of criminal behavior.

Judge Shepherd is married to Brenda and has three children:  Kellie, Adam and Eric.

Judge Douglas P. Shepherd is a respected jurist who has a firm knowledge of the law. Each party appearing before him is assured of a fair trial.  Judge Shepherd is consistent, understanding and compassionate in issues of the law and legal system. 

Magistrate
41A Court Magistrate Jim Verploeg came to the 41A District Court Shelby Township Division in May 2019 after working for 12 years as a court administrator at the 52-4 District Court in Troy. He was appointed as District Court Administrator by Judge Douglas Shepherd and became magistrate in 2020.

Magistrate Verploeg's duties include felony and misdemeanor arraignments, civil infraction informal hearings, small claim hearings, criminal pre-trials, civil pre-trials and weddings. 

Jury Duty
Why We Have a Jury System - 
Under the constitution a U.S. citizen is given certain rights; the right to a jury trial is one of those rights.

Participation in jury trials provides citizens with an opportunity to:
  • Incorporate community values into dispute resolutions
  • Guard against abuse of power by legislatures, businesses, and government agencies
  • Avoid arbitrary or unfair actions by individual judges
  • Protect the rights of all citizens

Why Jurors Are Selected -
Jurors are important and necessary participants in our justice system. Legal disputes (cases) often will not actually go to trial (be heard by a judge or jury), because citizens are prepared to participate as jurors – sitting and waiting in the jury room.

A jury panel that is ready to hear a case can motivate all parties involved in a dispute to reassess their risks and claims. Much like in a game of poker, the attorneys for both sides of a dispute think they have the "winning hand." The mere presence of the jury "calls the bluffs." For example, it is common for the court to schedule 30 to 60 cases for trial on a single day because the jury is waiting and available. Typically, only three to five of those cases will actually go to trial as scheduled.

How Jurors Are Selected -
Step One: 
Once a year the Secretary of State will compile a list of citizens who may be eligible to serve on a jury from a list that identifies citizens who possess a driver's license or State of Michigan identification card.

Step Two:
Identified citizens are mailed a Juror Qualification Questionnaire. After the questionnaire is completed, returned and evaluated, a "qualified" citizen may be called to serve on a jury

What To Expect If You Are Selected -
As an active participant in the justice system, a citizen who serves as a juror can expect to:
  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Have court facilities and procedures identified and explained as needed throughout the assigned jury duty service period
  • Have questions answered by the appropriate court staff member as allowed by law
  • Be informed of and comply with rules and guidelines that are designed to ensure the integrity of our legal process.

When You Are Inside a Courtroom -
Once a trial by jury begins, "qualified" citizens are convened inside the courtroom. A juror may be excused if the judge determines there is a valid reason that the juror should not serve in the case. In addition, each lawyer has a right to excuse a certain number of jurors without giving a reason for doing so. The jury selection process is called voir dire.

There are special rules and considerations that attorneys apply and make when conducting voir dire. The fact that a citizen is excused from jury service does NOT reflect on the citizen’s fitness to serve. A citizen who is excused from jury duty on one trial may very well be selected to serve on another.
 
THE JUDGE IS THE FINAL VOICE OF AUTHORITY FOR COURTROOM PROCEDURES.
Jurors are expected to pay close attention to and strictly follow all instructions given by the judge.

About Deliberations (Deciding a Verdict) -
After the facts of the case have been presented by each party the jury is sent to a jury room to decide the verdict. Inside the jury room the jury members will select a foreperson whose job it is to collect ballots and to announce the verdict when asked to do so by the judge. All jurors are individually independent and equal. No one juror has more weight or power than any other juror.

In Reaching a Decision Jurors Must Remember to -
  • Keep an open mind
  • Discuss the facts of the case by sharing information and points of view
  • Apply the jury instructions appropriately
  • Decide on a verdict that is based on the facts of a case as they were presented in the courtroom

Traffic Fine Schedule
Read your citation carefully. The APPEARANCE DATE (due date) on the front is important. A late charge of $35 will be assessed if not paid or contested before the due date, in addition to the possible issuance of an arrest warrant and/or suspension of your driver’s license.

All civil infractions may be paid on or before the Appearance Date, through the mail or in person. Credit cards may be used via the web at www.govpaynet.com in person, or by telephone at 888-604-7888. You must have the court’s pay location code of #2322 when paying by credit card. A credit card service fee will apply.

If you wish to contest the ticket and request a hearing, you must do so on or before the due date by telephone, through the mail, or in person. 

DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT: If a police officer certifies on your copy of the ticket that the violation has been corrected and your copy of the ticket is presented to the Court on or before the due date, then the costs will be waived.

NO OPERATOR’S LICENSE IN POSSESSION: If a police officer certifies on your copy of the ticket that a valid operator’s license was presented, and your copy of the ticket is presented to the Court on or before the due date, then the costs will be waived.

NO PROOF OF REGISTRATION ON PERSON: If a police officer certifies on your copy of the ticket that valid registration was presented, and your copy of the ticket is presented to the Court on or before the due date, then the costs will be waived.

NO PROOF OF INSURANCE: $150 or if valid proof of insurance is shown to the court on or before the due date, then the costs are reduced to $25.

Violation Description  Fine  Points
Speeding 1-5 over  $115  1
Speeding 6-10 over  $125  2
Speeding 11-15 over  $145  3
Speeding 16 and over  $155  4
Improper License Plates  $190  0
Expired Plates or No Plates  $165  0
Expired Driver License  $190  2
No Operators License on Person  $190  0
Careless Driving  $190  3
Reckless Driving  Court  6
Drag Racing  $240  4
Fail to Stop for School Bus  $255  3
Disobey Traffic Signal   $125  3
Disobey Stop Sign  $125  3
Improper Passing  $125  3
Improper Lane Use  $125  2
Follow Too Closely  $125  2
Fail to Stop in Assured Clear Distance - Accident  $160  2
Fail to Wear Seat Belt (Driver and Passenger)  $65  0
Violation of Child Restraint Law  $125  0
All accidents add $35.
Fines are increased in school, construction and emergency zones.
Call the traffic division at 586-739-7325 for offenses not listed 

Is the small claims division right for you?
Before you file a claim in the small claims division of the district court, you should decide whether it is the right "court" for you.  There are a number of things to consider from the amount of your claim to your ability to "represent" yourself in court. The small claims division of the district court is a "court of limited jurisdiction."


The small claims division of the district court cannot award more than $6,000.00, except for court costs and interest, even if your claim is worth more. In the small claims division your case may be heard by a district court judge or a district court attorney magistrate. In a small claims case, the parties cannot have attorneys represent them.

You cannot have a jury trial. In addition, the district court judge's decision is final and cannot be appealed. However, if the case is heard by a district court attorney magistrate, the decision may be appealed to the district court judge for a new hearing in the small claims division. If either party objects to these conditions, the case will be transferred to the general civil division of the district court for a hearing. If that occurs, all parties may have attorneys.

Statutes and court rules
Statutes and court rules associated with small claims proceedings are: MCL 600.8401 through MCL 600.8427, MCL 600.8302, MCR 4.301 through MCR 4.306.


How to begin a small claims case
To start a case, an "Affidavit and Claim, Small Claims" form DC 84 must be filed with the clerk of the district court. Small claims cases should be filed either where the cause of action arose or where the person or business you are suing is located. If you are suing more than one person or business, the suit cannot be filed where the claim arose but must be filed in the district court where any of the persons live or where any of the businesses operate.


There is a fee for filing a small claims case. The cost of filing the lawsuit is $30 for claims up to $600, $50 for claims over $600 up to $1,750, and $70 for claims over $1,750 up to $6,000. The plaintiff is responsible for paying the filing fee and other required fees or costs (postage costs or fees for serving the claim on the defendant). The amount of the fees can be included as part of the judgment against the defendant if the judge decides in your favor.

The defendant may offer to settle out of court after learning you have filed a suit. If you settle the matter out of court, you can either voluntarily dismiss your lawsuit or obtain a judgment. If you want an enforceable judgment, the terms of your agreement must be spelled out in writing and signed by both you and the defendant. A copy of the agreement must be filed with the court. The small claims division can only handle certain kinds of claims, such as simple cases to recover money, perform a contract, set aside a contract, or change a contract. 

For example, the small claims division can hear a dispute between a landlord and a tenant about the return of a security deposit, or it can hear a case involving a car accident where insurance did not cover the damages to a car. The small claims division cannot hear cases of fraud, libel, slander, assault, battery, or other intentional wrongs.  See MCL 600.8424(1). Although the small claims division cannot hear these intentional wrongs, it may still hear some intentional wrongdoing cases such as actions for insufficient funds (bounced checks) MCL 600.2952(6), Consumer Protection Act actions MCL 445.901 and recreational trespass MCL 324.73109.

If you decide to go to court, the procedures for small claims are simple, but they have to be followed.  For additional information about how to file a small claims case and what else you need to do, see the Michigan One Court of Justice Website Small Claims Self-Help Center at courts.mi.gov.

41A District Court Shelby Township
52420 Van Dyke Ave.,
Shelby Township, Michigan 48316
Phone: 586-739-7325
Email: NOT ACCEPTED