Kent County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Kent County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Kent County.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
Kent County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Kent County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Kent County. The Kent County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Where will Kent County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Kent County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Kent County.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Kent County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kent County Required Court Appearances
In Kent County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Who can help me in Kent County?
For general information about your case the Kent County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Jury Deliberations in Kent County
In Kent County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Kent County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kent County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kent County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Kent County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Sentencing in Kent County
In Kent County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Kent County Criminal Court Locations
17th Circuit Court – Kent
Address: 180 Ottawa Ave NW, #2400, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Phone: 616-632-5480 Fax: 616-632-5458
59th District Court – Grandville
Address: 3161 Wilson Ave SW, Grandville MI 49418
Phone: 616-538-9660 Fax:616-538-5144
59th District Court – Walker
Address: 4343 Remembrance Rd NW, Walker MI 49534
Phone: 616-453-5765 Fax: 616-791-6851
61st District Court – Grand Rapids
Address: 180 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Phone: 616-632-5700 Fax: 616-632-5592
62A District Court – Wyoming
Address: 2650 DeHoop Ave SW, Wyoming MI 49509
62B District Court – Kentwood
Address: 4740 Walma Ave SE, Kentwood MI 49512
Phone: 616-698-9310 Fax: 616-698-8199
63rd District Court – Kent County
Address: 1950 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525
Phone: 616-632-7770 Fax: 616-363-6124