In the United States, the court system adjudicates crimes by weighing evidence and considering arguments about how the law should apply in a given case. American courts employ an adversarial system in which the interests of the people are represented by a prosecutor, while a defense attorney is hired or appointed by the court to represent the accused. Courts are given jurisdiction — that is, authority to hear and decide cases — based on geography and the subject matter of the case. In Michigan, the state constitution provides for the division of the judicial branch’s power among courts with different jurisdictions, including the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals and various lower-level courts.
In fiscal year 2017, the Michigan judiciary had a budget of about $300 million. The state judiciary budget funds the operations of the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals and the compensation of judges serving in trial courts. This accounts for the vast majority of the spending, but the judiciary budget also supports a variety of other agencies and programs, such as the State Court Administrative Office, the Michigan Judicial Institute and supplies grants to trial courts which maintain specialty court dockets designed to handle drug treatment, mental health and veterans’ affairs.