The 48th District Court might be the most well-known court in Metro Detroit mostly because of the infamous Judge Kimberly Small. When she sentenced Jalen Rose to jail on his first offense, it made national news. She has a policy of jailing those with their first conviction of drunk driving – an unheard of sentence. I was given the opportunity to debate her on a local television news show about it. The funny thing about this court is that despite what the general public may think, Judge Small is not the toughest sentencing judge in this court. That distinction surprisingly belongs to Judge Diane D’Agostini. Judge D’Agostini gives out longer jail sentences to those convicted of all crimes before her. The third judge there, Judge Marc Barron, a former assistant prosecutor for Oakland County is more lenient and a good trial judge.
That said, I practice in this court almost as much as any other. I also grew up in this jurisdiction having graduated from Andover High School situated right behind the courthouse. As such, I would call this another “home court” for me. The entire court and probation staff are very friendly and helpful. The several prosecuting attorneys that work in the 48th are reasonable as well. Despite the “tough judge” reputation of this court, it is a nice place to go but an attorney has to be prepared, and not scared to fight in this court. Otherwise, they will be walked all over. Again, an attorney must earn respect at this court and show that you deserve it. That is when it is given.