State offers new way to find online court hearings

Matthew Stewart, 35th Circuit Court judge, is seen in this undated file photo.

LANSING — The Michigan Supreme Court Monday unveiled expanded capabilities that boost public access via the Virtual Courtroom Directory.

New features now allow users to search courts where virtual hearings are being held, sort by judge or hearing officer, click on a county to view if a specific court is offering streaming abilities, and adds a public calendar to virtual courtroom search results.

“With just two or three clicks, the public can find and watch local court proceedings,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “Michigan’s courts have responded to this crisis by opening the virtual doors of our courthouses wide. I am so proud of the commitment to innovation that is transforming the judiciary, expanding access, and strengthening democracy.”

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the court detailed in Administrative Order 2020-2 the essential functions that must continue while requiring trial courts to observe social distancing and limiting gatherings in court facilities to no more than 10 people. Subsequently, Administrative Order 2020-6 expanded the authority of judicial officers to conduct proceedings remotely and from a location other than their courtroom. Currently, nearly 1,000 judges and other court officers have Zoom licenses and more than 100,000 hours of hearings have been conducted remotely since April 1.

Shiawassee County’s 35th Circuit Court YouTube channel is available at youtube.com/channel/UCY7MUpeiV56M4M5zZPNG69Q/live.

Other state court viewing can be located at micourt.courts.michigan.gov/virtualcourtroomdirectory/.

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