LANSING — House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel(D-Auburn Hills) sharply criticized a plan to eliminate one judge position from the 50th District Court in Pontiac during testimony he gave to the House Judiciary Committee today. If passed, Senate Bill 653 would reduce the number of 50th District Court judges to two, leading to longer delays before cases come to trial and longer stays in jail for those waiting for their cases to be heard.

“It makes no sense to reduce the number of judges in the 50th District when the number of cases before that court is growing, not shrinking,” Greimel said. “By removing a judge from our court, people will have to wait longer to see justice served, and inmates awaiting trial will sit in the Oakland County Jail for longer periods of time. It costs taxpayers money and makes victims wait longer for justice from the court.”

SB 653 would eliminate one Pontiac judge even though a recent report on judicial staffing found no need to cut the position. Pontiac has a growing caseload and a disproportionately high number of felony cases, Greimel told the House Judiciary Committee today. Slowing down the judicial process will further strain the Oakland County Jail, which recently had an overcrowding emergency last year.

“Instead of solving a problem, this SB 653 creates several problems,” Greimel said. “We shouldn’t be passing laws that cost taxpayers money and that make victims wait longer for justice. People need more access to justice, not less.”