The forerunner of the Macomb County Circuit Court began modestly in the log home of Christian Clemens in a session held on July 13, 1818. Lewis Cass, the Governor of the Michigan Territory established the County of Macomb in 1818, declared Mount Clemens to be the seat of justice for Macomb County and appointed non-lawyer Christian Clemens to be Chief Justice of the County Court. A two-story log courthouse was constructed for $400.00 the following year on the site of the present County Building. This structure was destroyed by fire in 1835 and replaced with an early American style, two story, brick building.
The Michigan Constitution of 1835 established the office of circuit judge in Article VI, Section 4. The position of circuit judge was then a county-wide elected office with a term of four years.
There is no readily available record of the judges of the Court from the death of Christian Clemens in 1844 until 1869, when Judge William Mitchell took office. By 1879, the two story brick court building was clearly inadequate. Mount Clemens barely prevailed over Romeo to retain the County seat and succeeded in building a joint municipal, County and Court building in a beautiful gothic style on the site of the former building. The structure reportedly contained one large, impressive courtroom which was divided to make way for the second circuit judge. By 1930, this structure was woefully inadequate for the City, County and Court and consequently was torn down for the 1931 construction of the $1 million County Building which presently stands at Cass and Gratiot. The Circuit Court (along with the Probate Court) held proceedings on various floors of this building. However, the continued growth of county government soon exceeded the capacity of the building. By 1967, seven circuit judges served Macomb County. The current court building was built for approximately $8 million beginning in 1967 and was occupied in October of 1970. The dedication ceremony was held on September 9, 1972.
For historical information on the succession of judges, click here.