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Topic: do we need Genesee County "Judge Jails"?

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El Supremo

Michigan justices fear judge jails in misconduct case
Michael Gerstein, The Detroit News 3:01 p.m. ET March 8, 2017

Lansing Michigan Supreme Court justices signaled concern Wednesday over a precedent an Oakland County judicial misconduct case could set for potential court penalties against judges who make erroneous rulings.

The states highest court heard oral arguments Wednesday on the alleged judicial misconduct of Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca in her handling of a child custody case. Justices implied during the oral arguments theyre concerned about how the Gorcyca case outcome will impact future judicial misconduct cases.

I feel like were gonna have to build a lot of judge jails because I think a lot of judges make legal errors, said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack on Wednesday while questioning Lynn Helland, executive director of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.

Helland, former assistant U.S. attorney, now leads the commission after its former executive director, Paul Fischer, was fired.

Fischer had recommended a nine-month unpaid suspension for Gorcyca and is suing the state and commission for his employment termination in a separate case. The nine-member commission fired Fischer on Sept. 16 after he refused to resign, the lawsuit says. After letting him go, the commission later recommended a less-severe, 30-day unpaid suspension and public censure for Gorcyca.

The commission also is trying to fine the Oakland County judge $12,553.73, saying her response to a complaint against her was misleading and forced the tenure commission to perform an evidentiary hearing to uncover the facts. Fischer also wanted the same fine issued. The Michigan Supreme Court will ultimately decide on a fine for Gorcyca, who also hasnt been suspended or censured.

The high court wont make a decision on the case until this summer, but some justices questions during the oral arguments indicated concern with taking the commissions position.

OK, but heres what were worried about: Were all worried about opening lots of judge jails, Justice Joan Larsen said to Helland.

Gorcyca made national headlines in 2015 when she sent three children to a county juvenile facility for refusing to have lunch with their father. In July, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission found Gorcyca guilty of misconduct for acting inappropriately in the custody case involving the Bloomfield Hills children, aged 14, 11 and 9 at the time.

On Wednesday, Helland argued the judges handling of the case rose to the level of misconduct because she made an erroneous order with animus in sending the children to the juvenile facility.

Helland asked the court if Michigan permits angry judges to berate children and demonstrate a loss of impartiality. He argued that regardless of whether the children were right in fearing their father and avoiding him, Gorcyca used her authority and in such a way that constituted misconduct.

Justice Richard Bernstein questioned Gorcycas lawyer, Thomas Cranmer, an attorney with Miller Canfield, about how the judge used her authority.

Dont you think that we have a little bit of a higher standard for judges to deprive somebody of their freedom and their liberty dont you think when we use that power, we have to really make sure that power is used appropriately? Bernstein asked.

Cranmer agreed but recommended the court find no misconduct because she simply had a bad day in an otherwise exemplary career. Cranmer said the judge instructed the children to spend more time with their father and said if they didnt, there has to be some consequence. Its not inappropriate as far as Im concerned.

Is it OK for a surgeon to have a bad day? Bernstein asked.

Chief Justice Robert Young said if judicial canons suggest a behavior is inappropriate then there is little room for interpretation.

If the conduct is inappropriate under the canons, the canons forbid it. Period, Young said.

After hearing the arguments, the court will make a decision sometime before the end of July, according to Michigan Supreme Court spokesman John Nevin.


(517) 371-3661

Twitter: @MikeGerstein
Post Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:19 pm 
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El Supremo

In Genesee County, once elected to a Judicial position there is rarely opposition in future elections. There is no entity that evaluates a Judge's performance and treatment of the public. Truthfully, I have little faith in the so-called evaluation of the courts recently reported. Having worked on surveys as a college student, the wording can be manipulated and everyone knows how to lie with statistics.

What about the Judge Court employees say is rarely there. Can you imagine going to court three times and the Judge was not there at the appointed time all three. When you finally have to wait for over three hours, it is not pleasant to have the Judge make flippant and joking comments about his tardiness. Do we really need as many judges as we have when the Judge cleans out the courtroom in about a half-hour. The judge may be a no-show, but you still have to pay your attorney for showing up.

Last edited by untanglingwebs on Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:37 pm 
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El Supremo

What about the Judge that deliberately makes political appearances. If it a violation of the Judicial rules to have a judge stand prominently behind a politician in a televised church protest against a recall petition. Is the judge skirting the edges of the rules or is it legitimate?

Also when a judge has held a political office, should he hear cases where he reflects on his serving in that political capacity and offers suggestions that may only compound the issues.

What about cronyism? I remember Kiertzner watching closely a case in Family Court where the judge was a close friend of one of the parties.

Another judge had a clear bias towards men who were involved in sports. The only way one female got justice was to take the video's of the court hearing and use them in her complaint against the judge. It took Michigan State police to get involved and a change in jurisdiction to resolve the abuse issues.
Post Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:54 pm 
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El Supremo

And how many times does a judge have to be overturned in the higher courts before the public should worry about how qualified they really are. And I am stunned by a judge that got a decision overturned in Appeals Court only to make a similar decision in another case.
Post Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:05 pm 
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El Supremo

Judge Archie Hayman of Flint, MI; moronic loser

Judge Archie Hayman of Flint, MI; moronic loser . The state of Michigan presented Archie L. Hayman with a law license in 1985 after he graduated from Cornell ...

Hayman was the only Judge on this site from Flint out of 51 shown in Michigan. However there was a disconnect between their evaluation and that of visitors to the site who rated him "best".

I was surprised at some of the Flint area attorneys listed in their listing of unethical attorneys.
Post Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:59 am 
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