I cannot speak for other judges, but the following information may be helpful for persons representing themselves in court.
People do have a constitutional right to proceed in propria persona in the courts of this state. Const 1963, art 1, § 13. However, individuals who represent themselves in Michigan's courts are held to the same standards as members of the state bar. Baird v Baird, 368 Mich 536, 539 (1962). The Court can not overlook a party's tactical errors or consider documentary evidence that was not submitted to the trial court merely because a party acted in propria persona. Amorello v Monsanto Corp, 186 Mich App 324 (1990).
Judges, clerks and court house staff cannot provide legal advice. Do not ask court employees for legal advice. If you want legal advice, talk to an attorney or consult the Michigan Court Rules and Michigan laws. Court employees are allowed to provide procedural information only.
On the day of your hearing arrive at the assigned judge's courtroom early to allow time for courthouse security measures. Be prepared to spend most of the morning or afternoon in court. Your case may be heard immediately or you may have to wait for other cases to be heard. Bring with you any documents, records, photographs, audio and/or visual recordings related to your case. Witnesses are generally required if you wish to present evidence to the court. Subpoenas are available if you need a court order to compel a witness to appear in court. Without evidence you can loose even if you’re right.
Let the judge’s staff know before the hearing if 1) you need an adjournment because of witness problems or you wish to have an attorney with you or 2) you need an interpreter because you are unable to communicate in English or 3) you are hearing impaired.
Only one person at a time may speak during a court proceeding. This ensures greater accuracy in making a record by our audio recording equipment. When speaking, talk to the witness or the court, not the opposing party, either from your table or the podium. Stepping away from the microphones reduces the accuracy of the record. Be respectful of the judge, court staff, attorneys, witnesses and other parties.
Do not interrupt when someone else is talking. Do not talk and stop talking when the judge is talking. The judge will try to give both sides a full opportunity to be heard, but you need to wait your turn. The judge does get to interrupt you if what you are saying is irrelevant or not material to the issues before the court.
Please remember that hearsay is generally inadmissible. Unless there is an exception under the Rules of Evidence, you can tell the judge anything you actually heard the other party say that is relevant to the case, but you can’t tell the judge what somebody else has said even if that other person is a doctor, lawyer, police officer, family member or friend. You need to have that person appear in court as a witness. Likewise, police reports, lab reports, medical reports, affidavits, letters are hearsay and not admissible unless there is an exception to the hearsay rule.