Mich. appeals court judge to serve as special administrator of district court

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 28, 2013

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) -- Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael Talbot has been appointed by the state Supreme Court to serve as special judicial administrator of Detroit's 36th District Court.

The state high court made the announcement Tuesday.

Its unanimous order appointing Talbot comes in the wake of a recent assessment of the 36th District Court by the National Center for State Courts. The NCSC, in its May 20 report, concluded that the district court is embroiled in an economic crisis that calls for both immediate and long-term action if it is to continue functioning.

The NCSC assessment noted that the court has serious financial issues, including a budget overrun of $4.5 million this year.

State Court Administrator Chad Schmucker called the 36th District's situation "dire," saying that extraordinary measures were required "to keep the doors open at this court and make sure that the public is getting the service it deserves."

"Given the dire financial situation of the district court's funding unit, the city of Detroit, we anticipate that the court's budget crisis will substantially worsen in the coming months," Schmucker said in a statement.

Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. said the district court's "extraordinary challenges" require "a strong change agent," not a traditional manager, to ensure that it can better serve the people who rely on it.

"The situation calls for someone who can bring experience, vision and a fresh perspective to the courts' problems. That is why Judge Talbot was the court's unanimous choice for this challenging assignment," Young said in a statement.

"He has expertise in judicial administration; he also has many years of experience in Detroit's trial courts and knows them well."

Talbot said he is looking forward to his assignment.

"As one who spent many years on the trial court bench, I understand trial court challenges, including economic issues," he said in a statement.

"I am confident that, if we have the will to embrace serious changes, we can keep this court operating and serving the people of Detroit."

Talbot is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he earned a degree in public administration. He earned his law degree at the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law.

He was appointed to the Detroit Common Pleas Court in 1978. In 1980, he was appointed to Detroit Recorder's Court. He was appointed to the Wayne Circuit Court in 1991 and to the Court of Appeals in 1998.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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