TRAVERSE CITY — Michigan Court of Appeals judges will step outside their usual courtroom in Grand Rapids for a day of hearings in Grand Traverse County.
The three-judge panel of Jane M. Beckering, Mark T. Boonstra and Amy Ronayne Krause will hear oral arguments today in a 13th Circuit courtroom.
Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power said appellate judges held hearings in Traverse City twice in recent years. He said the judges do more than just hear oral arguments from ongoing Michigan court cases.
“It’s something to look forward to,” he said. “It’s a chance for lawyers here to meet Court of Appeals judges and for them to make contacts in the community.”
Power and fellow 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers hosted a reception for the three judges on Wednesday that was attended by local attorneys and other community members.
Appellate judges typically hear cases in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing. They started traveling to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula and various courtrooms in northern lower Michigan in 2002 to accommodate litigants and attorneys in those areas.
“It’s cases in that area, both civil and criminal,” said Marylu Hickner, an assistant to the court’s chief deputy clerk.
The three judges hail from the court’s Third District, which usually holds hearings in Grand Rapids. They’ll sit on a special three-person stand that fits over the courtroom’s one-judge bench.
Their 19-case docket includes an appeal from Brian David Shanley, 32, a homeless Traverse City man convicted of multiple sex crimes last year. Power sentenced him to a 25- to 60-year prison term.
Grand Traverse County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg handled the case, but doesn’t plan to appear at the hearing today.
The hearings begin today at 10 a.m.