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FAQs: common

  • Can I observe court proceedings?
    Yes, court proceedings are open to the public with very few exceptions, such as settlement conferences which are conducted in Chambers. A schedule of court proceedings is available by contacting the Clerk's Office or electronically for those with PACER access. Visit for information on establishing a PACER account.
    It is highly recommended that any visitors call the Clerk’s Office prior to coming to the courthouse as court proceedings are subject to change on short notice. Visitors to the Court will have to present proper identification and pass through security screening. The general public is not allowed to bring cell phones, laptops or tablet devices into the building. Once inside the courthouse, visitors are free to come and go from the courtrooms, but shall remain quiet while court is in session. Please seek assistance from the court security officers if you have questions or require directions within the courthouse.
  • How do I request a transcript?

    If the transcript has been made part of the court record (appears on the docket sheet), you can request a copy in any of the following three ways:

    1. Telephonically from the Clerk's Office. (Copy Request)
    2. View in person at the  Clerk's Office.
    3. By contacting the court reporter/courtroom deputy directly as shown below.


    If the transcript has "not" yet been e-filed by the court reporter, you can contact him/her directly. Their names and telephone numbers can be found below.


    Chief Judge Jarbou Jean Ann (517) 881-9582
    Judge Jonker Paul (517) 230-7507
    Judge Maloney Katheen (269) 808-6116
    Judge Beckering Melinda (517) 604-1732
    Judge Neff Kim (616) 456-6774
    Magistrate Judge Green Angie (616) 456-2309
    Magistrate Judge Kent Stephanie (616) 456-6308
    Magistrate Judge Vermaat Cathy (906) 226-3854
    Magistrate Judge Berens Julie (616) 456-2394


  • How do I register a judgment from this court in another district?

    Request this Court to complete form AO 451 Certification of Foreign Judgment. There is a certification fee and copy fees for the judgment. Click here for fee amounts. Submit the completed form and the filing fee to the Court in which you want the judgment registered.

  • How do I register a judgment from another district?

    Submit a completed AO 451 Certification of Foreign Judgment (prepared by the Court issuing the judgment) and the filing fee. Click here for fee amount. This will cause a miscellaneous case to be filed and the judgment to be registered in this district.

  • How do I retrieve a file from the Federal Records Center?

    First, determine from the Clerk's Office if the file is indeed located at the Federal Records Center located in Chicago, Illinois.

    Once it has been determined that the file is at the Federal Records Center, a request for an archived file can be made with the Clerk's Office in writing, together with a retrieval fee. Click here for amount. NARA will generally send the file to the Clerk's Office within five business days of receipt of the retrieval request. You will be contacted when the file has been received. Files may be reviewed at all divisional offices during the hours of 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday - Friday. Copies of case documents may be mailed directly to the requestor. Click here for copy fees.

    In some situations, you may be able to contact the Federal Records Center directly and retrieve records on your own. Contact the Clerk's Office for assistance with this process.

  • How do I arrange for service in a foreign country?

    Refer to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f).

  • How do I arrange for service by the U.S. Marshal?

    If proceeding in forma pauperis:

    • the Court will determine whether or not to have the U.S. Marshal provide service

    If filing fee has been paid:

    • a motion requesting service by the U.S. Marshal needs to be filed for the Judge to make a determination
  • How do I proceed without prepayment of filing fees?

    To proceed without prepayment of filing fees, click here to fill out the Affidavit of Financial Status. Include this completed form when you file your complaint.

  • What forms of payment are acceptable?

    The Clerk's Office accepts payment by cash, money order, check, Visa, MasterCard and Discover. We do not accept credit card payments for posting bail or for criminal debt. Checks should be made payable to: "Clerk, U.S. District Court."  Criminal debt payments may be made by credit card or ACH through

  • What counties comprise the Western District of Michigan?

    This district is composed of a Northern Division and a Southern Division.

    The Southern Division comprises the counties of Allegan, Antrim, Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Charlevoix, Clinton, Eaton, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa, Saint Joseph, Van Buren, and Wexford.

    The Northern Division comprises the counties of Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft.

    Click here for a graphical representation of these counties.

  • What type of information can the Clerk's Office staff give?

    1. Clerk's Office staff cannot give "legal advice" and therefore cannot:

    • Explain the meaning of a specific rule
    • Make an interpretation of a case law
    • Explain the result of taking or not taking an action in a case
    • Answer whether jurisdiction is proper in a case
    • Answer whether a complaint properly presents a claim

    2. Clerk's Office staff can provide procedural information such as:

    • Instruction on how to execute a task (number of copies, use of forms)
    • Provide information as to compliance with court policy

    3. Clerk's Office staff cannot recommend a lawyer.

  • I cannot serve on jury duty, should I call the court to ask to be excused?

    No, ALL requests to be excused MUST be made in writing. Please, DO NOT call the court to ask if you have a legitimate reason for being excused. Federal statue requires that all excuse requests must be decided by a Federal District Judge. The jury department can not advise if you have a legitimate excuse. If you feel you have compelling reasons that you can not serve you must write your reasons and submit them in the envelope that came with your summons. If you do not have that envelope you can mail your request to the address on your summons. The only time you should call regarding an excuse is when you have a last minute emergency that cannot be handled through the mail.