63rd District Court

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Mission Statement

The 63rd District Court is a county funded independent branch of government committed to the prompt, courteous and fair dispensation of justice by adjudicating cases in a timely manner using effective and efficient case management techniques, adhering to the highest standards that maintain the statutory and constitutional rights of all citizens, monitoring the enforcement of judgments, and being responsible stewards of public funds.


Judge Jeffrey J. O'Hara

Judge Jeffrey J. O’Hara grew up in Grand Rapids. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and received his Juris Doctorate Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1985. He was a private practice trial attorney until being elected as Judge of the 63rd District Court in 2014.

In 2012, Judge O'Hara was admitted as a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation for his outstanding legal ability.

In 2016, Martindale Hubbell rated Judge O'Hara "AV Preeminent," which is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary.

Judge Smolenski

Judge Sara J. Smolenski is a Grand Rapids native.  She earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Grand Rapids Junior College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan.  In 1982, she earned a Juris Doctorate Degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  She was elected to the bench in 1990.  She was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as Chief Judge of the 63rd District Court in 1996.

General Information

The 63rd District Court is one of five District Courts in the County. See map for 63rd District Court's coverage area.

What is a District Court and what do they do?

The District Court is a trial court of limited jurisdiction. It is divided into 101 judicial districts, ranging in size from a single city or township to multiple counties. The District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the following types of cases:

In addition to its jurisdiction to try adult criminal offenses punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment, the district court is the court in which all other adult criminal proceedings begin, regardless of the nature of the offense. In carrying out this function, the district court has jurisdiction to:

  • Issue arrest and search warrants
  • Set bail and accept bond
  • Conduct misdemeanor and felony arraignments
  • Preside over preliminary examinations for felony and misdemeanor offenses outside its trial jurisdiction
  • Perform civil marriage ceremonies

District Court decisions are generally appealable to the Circuit Court, although a different appeal process applies to informal hearings involving civil traffic infractions.

Frequently Called Court Office Numbers

Other Court Office Numbers

Strategic Goals

  • Continue to improve case processing; align staff and judicial and prosecutorial resources to focus on expediency
  • Maximize collection of fines and fees (and restitution)
  • Maximize effectiveness of existing staff.

Operational Goals

  • Administer the law in compliance with state statutes and court rules
  • Provide timely caseflow management (due process) of all cases filed with the court
  • Provide a quality of services to all litigants and defendants

Selected Performance Measures (PDF) »