Circuit Court Office

Phone Number: (906) 663-4211
Fax Number: (906) 667-1102

Hours of service: CST
8:30a.m.-12:00p.m.
1:00p.m.-4:30p.m.

Staff names and titles:
Roy Gotham
Circuit Judge
judgegotham@gogebic.org
Staff names and titles:
Cherie Ruppe
Administrative Assistant
cruppe@gogebic.org
Tammy Stella
Court Reporter
tstella@gogebic.org

FUNCTION AND HISTORY:

The circuit court is a court of “general jurisdiction”, meaning it handles cases of great variety. More particularly, felony criminal cases are assigned to the circuit court as well as general civil lawsuits where the amount in controversy is over $25,000. In addition, the circuit court historically handles divorce cases and other child custody disputes, which in recent years have been incorporated with other children’s issues formerly handled by the probate court into a “Family Division” of the circuit court. The circuit court processes all Personal Protection Order cases as well. In contrast, the district court handles less serious criminal charges, known as misdemeanors, as well as civil litigation under $25,000, landlord-tenant disputes, and all matters in the Small Claims Court.

Gogebic County and Ontonagon County comprise the 32nd Circuit Court, and have since 1891. Initially, after Michigan statehood, Gogebic County was part of Ontonagon County. By the state Constitution of 1850, the entire Upper Peninsula was comprised of one judicial district with two court terms per year in Ontonagon. Until 1881, Daniel Goodwin of Detroit was the judge. In 1887, when Gogebic County was separately organized, William D. Williams was the judge. Since then, judges of the circuit have included Samuel Cooper until 1918, George Driscoll until 1938, Harry Bay for a short time in 1938, Thomas Landers until 1956, Lawrence Walsh in 1956 and 1957, Robert Wright until 1967, Donald Monro until July 1982, William Cloon, Jr. through 1990, and Roy Gotham from 1991 until the present time.

The History of Gogebic County, Vol. II , compiled in 1954, reports that the first trial in the 32nd Circuit Court was on June 24, 1887, and was a criminal case for illegal sale of liquor.

For the past ten years, approximately 500 new cases are filed in the circuit court annually, with about 70% of them filed in Gogebic County. Over the past decade, we have witnessed a reduction in general civil lawsuits, but the total caseload has remained fairly constant because of offsetting increases in other types of cases.

Download Forms Used by this Court

SCAO forms web site

Court Self Help Links
www.michiganlegalhelp.org
www.lawhelpinteractive.org