There's a proposed bill that, if passed, will make one judge responsible for the work of two judges.
House Bill 5108 is intended to be a cost-saving measure that'll eliminate one of the three judges in Delta County through attrition. But officials fear if this happens, the quality of justice will suffer.
Robert Goebel, Jr. is Delta County's Probate Court Judge.
The proposed legislation means his position and that of District Court Judge, Glenn Pearson, are up for elimination. It'll mean a 50 percent caseload increase for the remaining two judges and could negatively impact citizens.
It will reduce their access to justice, explains Judge Goebel. There'll be insufficient time for the judges to hear the cases and issue well-reasoned and well-researched opinions."
According to Judge Goebel, the U.P. makes up three percent of the total population in the state. But we're going to be receiving 20 percent of the judge cuts. He says that's a disproportionate ratio. And this proposed house bill is only going to destroy an already efficient system.
Officials sent a letter to State Senator Tom Casperson and State Representative Ed McBroom asking for help. And they're receiving it.
As far as down in Lansing, the number one thing is to just not support the bill at this point, explains McBroom. Some of the productive things that we can do in the meantime are to get ideas from the local leaders, from the local judges, to how we can become efficient in this area."
But what can residents do to stop this from happening?
Politicians respond to public pressure. And if the public calls their representatives, it allows our representatives to go to the governor's office and say, look how much opposition there is here, Judge Goebel said.
Officials also said they fear crime will rise with one less judge to provide justice. And they say that will be an injustice to the entire community.