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A Memo From Judge Daniel P. Guerin Re: Transfer of OV/TR Cases

Thursday, July 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lauren Kolzow
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Circuit Judge 


May 9, 2014


To:       Misdemeanor and Traffic Judges 

From:   Judge Daniel P. Guerin, Presiding

            Misdemeanor & Traffic

Re:       Transfer of OV/TR Cases


            After speaking with judges, municipal prosecutors, bar members and representatives

of the Circuit Court Clerk, it is apparent that a more efficient procedure is necessary for transferring municipal cases from traffic court into house court.  Currently, traffic courts transfer such cases into an assigned misdemeanor courtroom.  This procedure was established long before municipal prosecutors assumed the responsibility of prosecuting the great majority of OV/TR traffic cases and DUI cases.  As a result, very frequently an OV/TR case is transferred into a misdemeanor courtroom on a day when the same municipal prosecutor is handling DUI cases in a different courtroom.  This causes delay and confusion for litigants, attorneys, judges and courtroom staff.

            To resolve this issue, OV/TR cases prosecuted by a municipal prosecutor should be transferred from traffic court into the appropriate DUI courtroom on a day when that same municipal prosecutor regularly appears.  To accomplish this, local court Rule 35.02 (Jury Trials) needs to be amended.

            The attached proposed amendment addresses the above concern and two others.  First, some OV/TR cases have hybrid charges between the state and local ordinances.  Because there is an assistant state’s attorney in each DUI courtroom, this new procedure will not adversely affect such hybrid charges.   Second, not every municipality has the same prosecutor handle their OV/TR and DUI cases.  Therefore, the proposed amendment includes the words “upon request” and retains the previous transfer schedule when necessary.      

            Finally, defendants picked up on OV/TR warrants who are not released in bond court will continue to be transferred from bond court into the assigned courtroom pursuant to the current schedule set out in Rule 35.02.  However, once in the misdemeanor courtroom, the judge may transfer the case to an appropriate DUI courtroom when applicable.  Requiring the bond court staff to follow the proposed 35.02 changes would be too problematic.  It is easier to have the misdemeanor judge transfer the warrant cases into the appropriate DUI courtrooms when necessary.

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