Chief Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James Biernat, Jr. sent a letter on Monday to Clerk Karen Spranger ordering her to resolve a backlog of court documents by Thursday.
The letter says the clerk’s office was behind in processing 2,822 e-filing bundles, so that judges and attorneys could see needed information on cases. Files from Oct. 9 still weren’t in the system.
There were also 1,632 LEIN criminal history reports, some dating back to August 2, waiting to be processed. It is a public safety issue.
“If you have someone in jail who shouldn’t be there, who is not guilty, they are there for a longer period of time,” said Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive, of the possible consequences. “This really has an impact on people, whether they are inmates, attorneys, or want justice for a crime that happened.”
Hackel says it is frustrating. People keep coming to him asking him to fix it, but he says he has no authority over other elected officials such as the clerk.
“We’re taking a look right now to see if there is an emergency order we can instill to take over some of those processes to make sure the public isn’t impacted by it, but there isn’t a lot of case law out there on this,” said Hackel.
Seven Action News stopped in the clerk’s office to get answers as to what she planned to do to address the situation.
She refused to answer questions.
As we recorded video for our news report, her office called for sheriff’s deputies. The deputies told her they could not force us to leave a public area in a public building, so long as we weren’t disrupting work.
Since the letter was written on Monday court administrators say little progress has been made. As of Thursday morning, LEIN criminal history entries that need to be addressed date back to Aug. 2, 2017 with a total outstanding of 1,708.
E-filing processing that needs to be done dates back to Oct. 11, 2017 with a total outstanding of 2,566.