Detroit Financial Review Team report exposes 36th District Court running $279M deficit

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit's financial review team report unveiled the city 36th District court is running a deficit of $279 million.

The deficit comes form uncollected fines and court costs. The majority of that portion ($199 million) is owed to that city and the rest to the state.

The court's collection rate was a dismal 7.7% compared to the 60% rate for other metro Detroit courts.

Chief Judge, Kenneth King tells 7 Action News he's been manager for only a year and is taking steps to solve the problem. One of his initiatives it to hire a new collection agency and to seize property of those who don't pay up.

Judge King says sending violators to jail for contempt is not an option because of overcrowding and under staffing in the Wayne County Jail. He also says he has the staff he needs to fulfill the statutory requirements of the court, even though 65 of his staffers are over budget.

If he doesn't get the money he needs from the city, Judge King says he will do what other Wayne County departments have done; sue.

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