Proposed ordinance would reclassify misdemeanors

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW — The City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would reclassify certain misdemeanors as civil infractions so the cases could be heard by local judges.

Police Chief Cliff Rosebohm said the proposed ordinance would take misdemeanor offenses, usually seen by the juvenile division of the Third Circuit Court, and make them violations under local ordinances, so they would be heard by a judge in 27th District Court

“This change would properly track violations that have the potential to get lost within the system,” he said.

The council agreed the change is necessary because these violations cost residents money and the offenders need to be held responsible for making the city whole. Councilman Tom Coffey said the Third Circuit Court is overloaded which allows some of these cases to slip through the cracks.

He said the city would not lose local autonomy by sending these types of cases somewhere else.

“The juvenile system (in downtown Detroit) is overloaded with hard core felons from the inner city and the other suburbs north of us,” Coffey said. “A lot of times, cases go down there and the docket is so dense that they cannot follow up or ensure restitution payments are made.

“The city has every right to recoup the losses for our taxpayers and provide the adequate repairs to the damaged property. I believe this is a good move for our city and the 27th District Court.”

Councilman James Trombley said this change would make it a “money issue ordinance” because of recent damage to area parks committed by minors.

“Recently, we had some destruction in our parks — the breaking of signs at Lloyd Carr Park and fires set on some playground equipment at Young Patriots Park — which costs taxpayers money,” Trombley said. “It’s juveniles doing it, but they’re going to juvenile court and being slapped on the hand. Somehow we have to make them more accountable for their actions.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at