Joseph Longo, 43rd District Court Judge for Ferndale, Michigan
Judge Longo is one of three judges in the 43rd District, which is composed of Madison Heights, Ferndale, and Hazel Park. Judge Longo’s territory is Ferndale. In a community known for its colorful, eclectic, and fashionable nature, Judge Longo is a good fit for the city.
Oakland County judges are assumed by many in the public and legal communities to be overly tough on defendants. Defendants who need some help to get back on their feet may face jail time instead of receiving much needed assistance. Anyone who knows Judge Longo and has represented clients many times before him know that he is willing to go the extra mile to try help when he believes it is appropriate to do so. He will provide help and support to a defendant who he genuinely believes wants to turn his or her life around.
Important and Interesting Facts about Judge Longo
Magistrate Patrick Brennan described Judge Longo as “the smartest man I ever met.” Judge Longo graduated from the University of Detroit High School in 3 years as opposed to 4, and the University of Michigan in 2 years as opposed to 4, all while paying his way working as a janitor.
Although he has been offered judgeships in higher courts, he has declined because of his love for the City of Hazel Park. He is a judge who truly values engaging on a local level, where he believes he can do the most good. His goal, as he says, is to “help people, not just punish them.” Judge Longo holds his unique version of Sobriety Court every Wednesday, wherein the focus is treatment and recovery. Based on national statistics, the chances of recidivism (repeat offending) drop from 66 % to 15 % if the offender gets the treatment they need. The difference in return offenders seen by Judge Longo, as he says, is “gargantuan.”
Types of criminal cases handled by Judge Longo
All district judges handle three types of criminal cases: civil infractions, misdemeanors, and felony preliminary exams.
- Civil Infractions: These are tickets such as speeding tickets or minor in possession of alcohol, and they are not “true” criminal cases but rather are simply a matter of a monetary fine and perhaps points on a driving record.
- Misdemeanors: Misdemeanors are criminal cases carrying a potential 30 days to 1 year in jail plus a term of probation and fine, typically ranging from $200 to $1,000.
- Felony Examinations: District judges do not have the authority preside over trial and sentencing hearings in cases that carry a potential jail or prison term of more than one year. They do, however, have the authority to conduct preliminary exams, which are probable cause hearings where the judge decides if the prosecutor has shown a crime was committed and probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime. Of course, if a plea-bargain is arranged whereunder the defendant pleads guilty to a misdemeanor, then the district judge may handle the case to completion and sentence the defendant and place them on probation. Judge Longo will dismiss charges if he finds that the prosecutor failed to establish probable cause.
Examples of misdemeanor cases handled by Judge Longo
- Retail Fraud 2nd or 3rd Degree (shoplifting)
- Assault and Battery
- Drunk Driving 1st and 2nd Offense (OWI or DUI)
- Domestic Violence
- Reckless Driving
- Aggravated Assault
- Operating with a High BAC
Examples of felony cases for which Judge Longo will schedule a preliminary exam
- Felonious Assault
- Drunk Driving 3rd Offense
- Drug delivery cases
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Armed or Unarmed Robbery
- Larceny from a Person, Building, or Vehicle
- Weapons Charges
How To Avoid Jail in the 43rd District Court
With a violation of probation or sentencing for a defendant with a previous criminal history, jail may appear unavoidable. This is not necessarily true with Judge Joseph Longo. Although he will not hesitate to jail a defendant that violates probation or repeatedly commits criminal offenses, he will listen to an argument for an alternative to incarceration. Judge Longo will consider and agree to an alternative to jail if a defense lawyer can persuasively and credibly present a satisfactory alternative. Alternatives to jail include community service, fines, therapy, education, and more.
Getting Great Results in Judge Longo’s Court
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have appeared before Judge Longo many times and we believe we have a mutually respectful relationship with him and his staff. Judge Longo appreciates attorneys who are well-prepared, zealous, and who genuinely care about their clients. We believe Judge Longo can easily see we care a great deal about our clients, and we want to do everything we can to help them get their life back on track, just as he does. If you have a criminal case before Judge Longo, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. and we will find a way to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.