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04/01/76 HART v. WAYNE COUNTY

April 1, 1976

HART
v.
WAYNE COUNTY



Kavanagh, C. J., and Williams, Levin, Coleman, Fitzgerald, and Lindemer, JJ., concurred. Ryan, J., took no part in the decision of this case.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Courts -- Recorder's Court -- Funding -- Legislative Function.

Funding of the state judicial system is a legislative function; the Legislature has authority to determine the funding of the Recorder's Court of Detroit and may charge Wayne County for judicial services of the court as a fair way of apportioning public expenses (MCL 725.13; MSA 27.3953).

2. Courts -- Statutes -- Validity -- Precedent.

The facts that the Supreme Court, in an earlier case, had conceded that an act passed in 1919 was valid and characterized it generally as a local act rather than a public act did not foreclose a challenge to the constitutionality of the 1919 act nor dispose of the question whether a funding section in the act is local or public where, in the earlier litigation, the question of constitutionality was not squarely before the Court and the funding section had not been a point of Discussion ( The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

Plaintiff George Z. Hart filed a complaint against Wayne County for an injunction to restrain the county from using county tax funds to pay salaries of the Judges of the Recorder's Court of Detroit. The plaintiff argues that the act which purports to authorize the payments, 1919 PA 369, which was adopted by a referendum vote of electors of the City of Detroit, was not validly adopted because it was a local act affecting the entire county and required a referendum of Wayne County voters. The City of Detroit was added as a defendant and the recorder's court Judges intervened as defendants. Wayne Circuit Court, Blair Moody, Jr., gave summary judgment for defendants. The Court of Appeals, Bronson, P. J., and McGregor, J. (Carland, J., not participating) reversed (Docket No. 19285). Intervening defendants appeal. Held:

1. Funding of the judiciary is a unique situation presenting overriding state concerns. Recorder's Court of Detroit is a state court performing a state function and the Legislature has authority to determine its funding and may charge the county for these services as a way of apportioning public services because recorder's court absorbs part of the Wayne Circuit Court workload.

2. A referendum is not constitutionally required for § 13 of 1919 PA 369 because the funding provision is not a local act under Const 1908, art 5, § 30, even though the act did provide for approval by the voters of Detroit. The 1908 Constitution gave the Legislature the right to establish courts and the intent of the Constitution was that the Legislature should be able to establish and modify recorder's court without a local-act referendum.

The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the summary judgment in favor of the defendant City of Detroit and the intervening defendants Judges of the Recorder's Court of Detroit is reinstated.

61 Mich App 188; 232 NW2d 678 (1975) reversed.

On February 9, 1972, plaintiff-appellee filed a complaint against Wayne County for an injunction restraining the county from paying salaries of the recorder's court Judges. The City of Detroit was added as a party defendant and Judges of the recorder's court intervened as defendants. Wayne Circuit Judge Blair Moody, Jr., rendered summary judgment for defendants. The Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment in an opinion by two members of a three-Judge panel (the third not participating by reason of illness) finding summary judgment for plaintiff. Wayne County was enjoined from assessment for payment of salaries of recorder's court judiciary. Defendants-appellants, Judges of the recorder's court, appealed. This Court granted leave to appeal and entered an order staying the Court of Appeals order. We reverse the Court of Appeals and reinstate the trial court's order of summary judgment in favor of defendants, Judges of the recorder's court and the City of Detroit.

Issue

Was the municipal courts of record act, 1919 PA 369, providing for county supplementation of salary for recorder's court Judges, adopted in violation of Const 1908, art 5, § 30?

I

In 1824 criminal jurisdiction in the City of Detroit was in the mayor's court for ordinance violations, in the Justice of the peace court for state misdemeanors and preliminary examinations and in the Wayne Circuit Court for all other state law offenses. 2 Territorial Laws, p 226. 1850 PA 301 established the police court to take over jurisdiction of the former Justice of the peace court. The police Justice and clerk of police court were, by court order, paid by the county, as were Justices of the peace. People, ex rel Schmittdiel v Wayne County Board of Auditors, 13 Mich 233 (1865).

Recorder's court was created in 1857 by 1857 PA 55 as a Detroit municipal court. It was given jurisdiction of the former mayor's court for Detroit ordinance violations. It also was given jurisdiction formerly held by Wayne County Circuit Court over state-law offenses committed in Detroit, except for those still triable in police court (state misdemeanors). The one Judge of recorder's court was paid by the state, and the clerk was paid by Detroit. Detroit and Wayne County shared costs of prosecution in recorder's court, with the county paying costs of state law cases and boarding of those prisoners and Detroit paying costs of ordinance cases and boarding of those prisoners. Juries were paid by the county.

1883 LA 326, *fn1 in Ch XII, § 6, provided that the recorder was to be paid by the state and Detroit. This 1883 act encompassed all provisions governing recorder's court. It was amended by 1893 LA 408.

1919 PA 369, *fn2 among other provisions, changed recorder's court by abolishing police court, thus giving recorder's court jurisdiction over all state offenses committed in Detroit.

The instant case concerns provisions for recorder's court found in the 1883 (as amended by 1893 LA 408) and 1919 acts.

Section 6 of 1893 LA 408 provides:

"Each of said Judges shall receive from the treasury of the State of Michigan the same annual salary as may be payable to circuit Judges. They shall also each receive from the treasury of the city of Detroit such additional salary as shall be sufficient, with the sum so received from the ...


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