The Recorder's Court, in Detroit, Michigan was a state court of limited jurisdiction which had, for most of its history, exclusive jurisdiction over traffic and ordinance matters, and over all felony cases committed in the City of Detroit. Its jurisdiction did not extend to civil suits.
It traces its roots to the Mayor's Court in Detroit, formed in 1824.
Sweet family murder trials
In its 173 year history, it is probable[original research?] that the Ossian Sweet family murder trials—defended by Clarence Darrow and presided over by Judge Frank Murphy (who became Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan, the last Governor-General of the Philippines and the first High Commissioner of the Philippines, United States Attorney General, and United States Supreme Court Associate Justice) -- was the most famous case tried there.
The trials are memorialized in two official Michigan Historical Markers:
Kevin Boyle's chronicle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age was adapted into a play. Mr. Boyle was honored by the Detroit City Council for The Sweet Trials. *The Sweet Trials: Malice Aforethought is a play written by Arthur Beer, based on the trials of Ossian and Henry Sweet, and derived from Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice.
Merger into Wayne County Circuit Court
The merger of the Recorder's court and Wayne County (Third Judicial) Circuit Court was not without controversy. It was made pursuant to a 1997 state law which also consolidated the state's probate courts into a family court, a far less controversial change. A lawsuit brought by Richard Kuhn opposed the merger, but did not prevail.
Prior to the merger, "judges of Recorder's Court were elected from Detroit, so unsurprisingly, most of them were African-American. Then Detroit Recorder's Court was abolished — or rather, it was merged with Wayne County Circuit Court. The Recorder's Court judges became Circuit Court judges, and have to run for re-election in Wayne County as a whole, which is predominantly white." 
At the time of its merger, and now as reconfigured as a part of the Wayne County Circuit Court, the court has been housed in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.
- The Detroiters, Pages 10 - 12
- Press release, Chief Justice Praises Judges' progress on Wayne County Jail Overcrowding, July 10, 2002.
- History of Michigan's Judicial System
- Michigan Historical Markers
- Michigan Legal Milestones.
- The Sweet Trials, Kevin Boyle honored by Detroit City Council.
- The Sweet Trials: University of Detroit Mercy
- Kestenbaum, Lawrence , "Dancing Bear" Commentary on judicial elections in Wayne County.