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Courts from around Michigan holding forum in Harbor Springs

Courts from around Michigan holding forum in Harbor Springs

EMMET COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Representatives from tribal, state and federal courts all around Michigan are meeting to talk about working together cooperatively.

The Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum meets twice a year.

In areas like Emmet County, a lot of people in the court system fall under both local court and tribal court jurisdiction.

The forums help courts make decisions on where to send people and which courts should handle their cases.

“Often it’s true that a family that has a tribal member may have a case in state court where it’s better that that case is transferred to tribal court," said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack. "Or, there may be resources that one court has that the other doesn’t have that can do a better job serving a particular person or a particular family.”

“This forum helps us to build bridges between the state courts and the tribal courts," said Chief Judge Allie Maldonado from the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. "We want to be good neighbors. We have a lot of things in common. We have a lot of cases that appear before both jurisdictions and this helps us to resolve the issues and concerns of our joint citizenry.”

The most common topics for discussion are child welfare and family cases.

The forum aims to make sure the courts understand the others' laws and how they handle family situations.

The forum happens Monday and Tuesday in Harbor Springs.

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