8th District Court

History of Courts


Michigan's first State Constitution was adopted in 1835. We are presently governed by the Michigan Constitution of 1963, which provides that the judicial power is vested exclusively in one court of justice, which is divided into one supreme court, one court of appeals, one trial court of general jurisdiction known as the circuit court, one probate court and courts of limited jurisdiction, such as the district court created by the state legislature.


Act 154 of 1968, to commence functioning January 1, 1969, created District Court. These courts replaced Justice of the Peace Courts and Circuit Court Commissioners, as mandated by the Constitution of 1963. The act also abolished municipal and police courts, but contained provisions allowing certain municipalities to retain their municipal courts. District Court became a court of record in 1973 and a verbatim record is kept of court proceedings.

District judges are elected on nonpartisan ballots for terms of 6 years. There are approximately 100 District Courts in Michigan. Kalamazoo County District Court is a first class District Court, designated the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Michigan. The Eighth District Court currently has 6 judges.

Until 1998, Kalamazoo County had three District Courts that handled the City of Kalamazoo, City of Portage, and one to handle the remainder of the County. On January 1, 1999, the three District Courts consolidated into one District Court to serve Kalamazoo County, which encompasses fourteen Townships, eight Villages and the Cities of Kalamazoo, Portage, Galesburg and Parchment.

On December 11, 2023, the District Court opened its doors to the public, after moving from the Michigan Avenue and Crosstown Courthouse locations into the Judge Charles A. Pratt Justice Center. This move completes the vision of consolidation efforts started in 1998, to have a unified District Court to serve Kalamazoo County.

Kalamazoo's First County Bldg. 1839-1885
Kalamazoo's Second Courthouse Building 1885
Michigan Avenue Courthouse
Housed the 8th District Court from 1969-2003.
Housed the Criminal Division of the Consolidated
8th District Court from 2003-2023.
Crosstown Courthouse
Housed the Civil and Traffic Division of the Consolidated 8th District Court from 2003-2023.
Judge Charles A. Pratt Justice Center
Currently houses the 8th District Court