Family Court Division
Prosecutor D.J. Hilson's Office plays an important role in holding juveniles accountable for their criminal acts as well as protecting innocent children from abuse and neglect. These daily battles to protect the public are fought in Muskegon County's Family Court. Under the leadership of Veteran Assistant Prosecutor Katie Norton, Assistant Prosecutor's Heather Bloomquist and Samantha Jonas dedicate their time to making sure the youth of Muskegon County are given the resources they need to be happy, healthy, and, most importantly, safe.
In 2017, the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office handled approximately 700 juvenile delinquency cases involving felony and misdemeanor offenses, including homicides, armed robberies and criminal sexual conduct cases. This office has continued to demand that gun-toting and assaultive minors be waived to adult court.
In the Family Court Division, the Prosecutor's Office plays a central role in protecting children from abuse and neglect. When an allegation of parental or adult abuse against a child is registered, the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office steps in as a legal advocate on behalf of the victimized child. The office promptly reviews and approves petitions informing the court and the suspect of the allegations. In 2017, the Family Court Division helped to offer services to over 150 families through these child protective proceedings.
While abuse or neglect of a child can take many forms, common allegations are physical assaults on the child and failure to provide adequate food and shelter for the minor. Sexual abuse within the family is also an all-too-common basis for the pursuit of a child abuse petition.
After an admission of wrongdoing or a finding of responsibility, the court can then initiate a number of options. These alternatives include individual and family counseling, foster care placement and in those most egregious situations, termination of parental rights. The Prosecutor's Office routinely reviews and recommends to the court the appropriate option. The continuing and primary interest of Prosecutor Hilson in these cases is protection of our youth.
The Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office considers its juvenile court responsibilities extremely important and looks forward to the opportunity to protect and serve the citizens of Muskegon County in these areas throughout the coming years.