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63rd District Court

Mission Statement

The 63rd District Court is a county funded independent branch of government committed to the prompt, courteous and fair dispensation of justice by adjudicating cases in a timely manner using effective and efficient case management techniques, adhering to the highest standards that maintain the statutory and constitutional rights of all citizens, monitoring the enforcement of judgments, and being responsible stewards of public funds.


Judge Jeffrey J. O’Hara

Judge Jeffrey J. O’Hara grew up in Grand Rapids. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and received his Juris Doctorate Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1985. He was a private practice trial attorney until being elected as Judge of the 63rd District Court in 2014.

In 2012, Judge O'Hara was admitted as a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation for his outstanding legal ability.

In 2016, Martindale Hubbell rated Judge O'Hara "AV Preeminent," which is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary.

Judge Smolenski

Judge Sara J. Smolenski is a Grand Rapids native.  She earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Grand Rapids Junior College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan.  In 1982, she earned a Juris Doctorate Degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  She was elected to the bench in 1990.  She was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court as Chief Judge of the 63rd District Court in 1996.

General Information

The 63rd District Court is one of six District Courts in the County. See map for 63rd District Court's coverage area.

What is a District Court and what do they do?

The District Court is a trial court of limited jurisdiction. It is divided into 101 judicial districts, ranging in size from a single city or township to multiple counties. The District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the following types of cases:

In addition to its jurisdiction to try adult criminal offenses punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment, the district court is the court in which all other adult criminal proceedings begin, regardless of the nature of the offense. In carrying out this function, the district court has jurisdiction to:

  • Issue arrest and search warrants
  • Set bail and accept bond
  • Conduct misdemeanor and felony arraignments
  • Preside over preliminary examinations for felony and misdemeanor offenses outside its trial jurisdiction
  • Perform civil marriage ceremonies

District Court decisions are generally appealable to the Circuit Court, although a different appeal process applies to informal hearings involving civil traffic infractions.

Frequently Called Court Office Numbers
Main Line (616) 632-7770
Traffic (616) 632-7780 or
(616) 632-7786
Small Claims (616) 632-7771
General Civil (616) 632-7772 or
(616) 632-7776
Landlord Tenant (616) 632-7773
Probation (616) 632-7800
Criminal FAX (616) 363-6124
Traffic FAX (616) 363-6211
Civil FAX (616) 363-6904
Collections (616) 632-7790

Other Court Office Numbers
17th Circuit Court Clerk's Office (616) 632-5480
Kent County Prosecutor's Office (616) 632-6710
Victim/Witness Division (616) 632-5400
17th Circuit Court Administration (616) 632-5220
Family Division/Juvenile Center (616) 336-3748
Court Services (616) 632-5350
Kent County Sheriff's Dept. (616) 632-6100
Inmate Information (616) 632-6300
Probate Court (616) 632-5440
Friend of the Court (616) 632-6888

Strategic Goals

  • Continue to improve case processing; align staff and judicial and prosecutorial resources to focus on expediency
  • Maximize collection of fines and fees (and restitution)
  • Maximize effectiveness of existing staff.

Operational Goals

  • Administer the law in compliance with state statutes and court rules
  • Provide timely caseflow management (due process) of all cases filed with the court
  • Provide a quality of services to all litigants and defendants

Selected Performance Measures (PDF) »


Contact Us

Kent County Courthouse

63rd District Court

1950 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm

(616) 632-7770

(616) 363-6124

Judge Sara J. Smolenski, Chief Judge
Judge Jeffrey J. O’Hara

J. Kevin McKay, Court Administrator

63rd District Court Probation

(616) 632-7800

(616) 363-6808

Employee Recognition

Nominate a Kent County Employee for Quality Service!