Thursday, September 29, 2022
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has ordered the removal of a judge on multiple findings of misconduct
In the Commission’s view, maintaining the integrity of the judicial process requires that Respondent be removed. As set forth in this Decision and Recommendation, Respondent’s multiple and distinct acts of pervasive on-the-bench misconduct comprising the first five counts of the seven-count Second Amended Formal Complaint (“SAFC”) are each egregious in their own right. Respondent incorrectly and incompetently applied contempt law, abusing her power and, in the process, ordering thousands of dollars to be unjustly paid and jailing another who was later released by the Chief Judge of the 36th District Court after spending a night in jail and ultimately acquitted. (Count I.) Respondent developed the personal opinion that a particular process server (Myran Bell) was untrustworthy, so, in prejudice of the actual administration of justice, Respondent formulated a process of dismissing or adjourning each and every case brought before her in which Mr. Bell was the process server irrespective of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases, even after Chief Judge Blount ordered Respondent to stop, at which time Respondent began using thinly veiled pretexts to continue her obstinance. (Count II.) Respondent’s routine tardiness, missed days of work, and poor job performance resulted in the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) stepping in with assistance from 36th District Court Chief Judge Blount and others to address the issues and make a performance plan for Respondent’s improvement, but Respondent defensively refused participation and instead attacked those assigned to help her with discourteous and unprofessional written threats and barbs, including biblical quotes insinuating that her colleagues and the administrators should or would go to Hell. (Count III.) Respondent further prejudiced the actual administration of justice by intentionally disabling the video equipment in her courtroom because she did not want those aforementioned colleagues or court administrators watching her, even though she had no court reporter, meaning that she knowingly conducted court proceedings with no official record and, in most cases, no record at all. (Count IV.) Respondent’s incredible “backup” plan was to unofficially record some (but not all) proceedings with her personal cell phone, which she improperly published on Facebook Live on at least one occasion. (Count V.)
These first five counts of the SAFC regard Respondent’s on-the-bench conduct, but there was more. When Respondent was not prejudicing the actual administration of justice or missing work or incorrectly applying the law or disrespecting her colleagues and administrators or conducting unrecorded proceedings, Respondent tried using her status as a judge while out in the public for improper personal gain, including to illegally park in a handicap loading and unloading zone at her gym (blocking the driver’s side door of a disabled person’s car who was legally parked in a handicapped spot), while also displaying a Detroit police “official business” placard (falsely) and showing her judge’s badge to the responding officer when the citizen whose car was blocked rightfully complained. (Count VI.)
And if all of this, as alleged and proven through the first six counts of the SAFC, was not bad enough, Respondent repeatedly lied under oath about her intentional disabling of her courtroom’s video equipment necessary for making official recordings of the proceedings in her courtroom and her motivations for doing so. (Count VII.) Besides these lies, the Commission learned during these proceedings that Respondent submitted a sworn but false affidavit of identity in support of her candidacy for reelection as a judge, which resulted in the Secretary of State being prohibited by statute from certifying Respondent’s name for inclusion on the general election ballot pursuant to MCL 168.558(4).
Hell is in fact a place in Michigan.
I know, having been to Hell and back. (Mike Frisch)