- Recorder's Court
The Recorder's Court, in
Detroit, Michiganwas a state courtof limited jurisdictionwhich had, for most of its history, exclusive jurisdiction over traffic and ordinance matters, and over all felony cases committed in the City of Detroit. Its jursdiction did not include civil suits.
It is believed to be the only court in the
United Statesto have been called a "Recorder's Court" in the 20th century.
It traces its roots to the Mayor's Court in Detroit, formed in 1824.
This municipal court probably owed its name to the fact that from
1827until 1857, the official name of the City of Detroit was "The Mayor, Recorder and Alderman of Detroit." [ [http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mi/county/tuscola/det/dethistoryb.htm The Detroiters, Pages 10 - 12 ] ]
It was formed in the 19th century, and was merged into the Wayne County Circuit Court, the general jurisdiction court in Wayne County, following the pattern of the rest of the state of Michigan in October of
1997. [http://courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Press/PressArchive/waynejudges.pdf] [ [http://courts.michigan.gov/lc-gallery/history_mi_judicial_system.htm History of Michigan's Judicial System ] ]
weet family murder trials
In its 173 year history, it is probable that the
Ossian Sweetfamily murder trials -- defended by Clarence Darrowand presided over by Judge Frank Murphy(who became Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan, the last Governor-General of the Philippinesand the first High Commissioner of the Philippines, United States Attorney General, and United States Supreme CourtAssociate Justice} -- was the most famous case tried there.
The trials are memorialized in two official Michigan Historical Markers:
* Frank Murphy
Ossian Sweet/ Home [ [http://www.michmarkers.com/Frameset.htm Michigan Historical Markers] ]
Additionally, there is a "Michigan Legal Milestones". [ [http://www.michbar.org/programs/milestones.cfm Michigan Legal Milestones.] ] plaque (erected by the
State Bar of Michiganin the first floor of the Frank MurphyHall of Justice in Detroit. Kevin Boyle's chronicle, was adapted into a play. Mr. Boyle was honored by the Detroit City Council for The Sweet Trials. [ [http://sweettrials.udmercy.edu/news.htm The Sweet Trials, Kevin Boyle honored by Detroit City Council.] ] *"The Sweet Trials: Malice Aforethought" is a play written by Arthur Beer, based on the the trials of Ossian and Henry Sweet, and derived from Kevin Boyle's "Arc of Justice". [ [http://sweettrials.udmercy.edu/sweet_trial_play.htm The Sweet Trials: University of Detroit Mercy] ]
Merger into Wayne County Circuit Court
The merger of the Recorder's court and Wayne County (Third Judicial) Circuit Court was not without controversy. It was made pursuant to a 1997 state law which also consolidated the state's probate courts into a family court, a far less controversial change. A lawsuit brought by Richard Kuhn opposed the merger, but did not prevail.
Prior to the merger, "judges of Recorder's Court were elected from Detroit, so unsurprisingly, most of them were African-American. Then Detroit Recorder's Court was abolished — or rather, it was merged with Wayne County Circuit Court. The Recorder's Court judges became Circuit Court judges, and have to run for re-election in Wayne County as a whole, which is predominantly white." [http://potifos.com/polygon/index.2003.02.html]
At the time of its merger, and now as reconfigured as a part of the Wayne County Circuit Court, the court has been housed in the
Frank MurphyHall of Justice.
Bibliography and Further Reading
* Boyle, Kevin, "", chronicles Sweet's life and trial, and was awarded the
2004 National Book Awardfor Non-Fiction. ISBN 0805079335; ISBN 978-0805079333
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
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