79th District Court
79th District Court
Hon. Peter J. Wadel
304 East Ludington Avenue
Ludington, MI 49431-2121
Patricia A. Baker, Magistrate
Weekdays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
General Information about District Courts in Michigan
District courts were created effective January 1, 1969, by Public Act 154 of 1968. They replaced all but four municipal courts as well as all the police and justice of the peace courts and circuit court commissioners (officials in each county of a circuit who had limited judicial powers and performed administrative duties). The district court is often called “the people’s court” because the public has more contact with it than any other court in the state and many people choose to represent themselves rather than hire an attorney. There are 83 counties in Michigan, but 103 districts, and many are served by more than one judge. The district court has exclusive jurisdiction over most traffic violations, civil cases where the amount disputed is not over $25,000, landlord-tenant and land-contract matters, and civil infractions. The court may also conduct marriages in a civil ceremony.
The small claims division of the district court handles disputes involving $3,000 or less. Matters may be heard by the district judge or by an attorney magistrate. The parties waive their right to be represented by an attorney, the right to a jury trial, the application of evidence rules, and any right to appeal, unless decided by an attorney magistrate, whose decision may be appealed to the district judge. If either party wants to retain these rights, the case is removed from the small claims docket and is heard in the court’s general civil division.
The district court handles a wide range of criminal proceedings, including disposition of misdemeanors (offenses for which the maximum possible penalty does not exceed one year in jail) and conducting preliminary examinations in felony cases, after which, if the prosecutor provides sufficient proofs and the district judge so finds, the felony case is transferred to the circuit court for arraignment and subsequent disposition. A district court judge may appoint an attorney to represent persons who cannot afford a lawyer and may go to jail if convicted. Extraditions to another state for a pending criminal charge, coroner inquests, and issuance of search warrants are also handled in district court.
How to Search the Records of the 79th District Court
By clicking on the link below, you will leave the courts pages of the Mason County Government website and will go to the Michigan Courts: One Court of Justice terms-of-service page of the website maintained by Judicial Information Services (JIS). Read the terms of service, select "I'm not a robot" and any images as directed until a green arrow appears, and then click continue. Enter the name of a party or a file number and click submit. When the results of the search are retrieved, you can scroll through them and click on the file number of a particular case to display the register of actions, or you can narrow your search by applying the limiting filters provided.
For ease of viewing and reading the details of the case file, you can expand or collapse each section. Click print on the top right-hand side of the page if you want a hard copy of the information. You can also click on the breadcrumb trail at the top left-hand side of the page either to return to the search results for the name you entered or to start a new search for a different name.
The information provided is public record; however, Michigan and federal law preclude disclosure of certain information, and that nonpublic information is not accessible. The court makes this public information available without any express or implied warranty as to its accuracy. It is presented for informational use only and does not replace the official record on file with the court. No action should be taken in reliance upon the information found through this online search. Always consult the official record maintained by the court for the most complete and current accuracy.
For specific inquiries regarding citations, misdemeanor criminal matters, small claims, landlord-tenant, and general civil, call the telephone number above or contact the magistrate via email.
For payment of filing fees or citations online or by telephone, at any time, go to GovPayNet or call 888-604-7888. Use the payment location code (PLC) 4057 for payment of fines and costs or PLC 4076 for payment of 79th District Court filing fees and complete the required fields before submitting. A service fee will be charged for the transaction.