Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission Sucks

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission sucks and this is why:

To begin, in Michigan, Supreme Court Judicial Candidates are exempted from disclosing campaign contributions.

SCOTUS handed down a wishy-washy ruling on judicial candidates soliciting campaign contributions.

Judicial lobbying is something that goes on everyday, meaning that a judge can sit on the board of a child welfare organization while presiding over a case where the chid welfare organization is in front of the court.

The Madame Maura Corrigan used to do it all the time.

But then, there is this particular situation.

I have not checked lately but, back in the dark ages of Michigan Child Welfare, members of the Judicial Tenure Commission used to sit on the boards of child welfare organizations, like St. Vincent Sarah Fisher Residential Center, where, if one was to file a grievance against a presiding judge in a child welfare case like St. Vincent Sarah Fisher Residential Center, the chances were 100% that the grievance would be dismissed.

Dude would not even give the chance to recuse himself when a case was brought to his court, where the defendant was St. Vincent Sarah Fisher Residential Center.

He refused to "entertain" the filing.

Before anyone decides to dismiss this blatant conflict of interest, let me tell you a little story about the Michigan Court of Appeals.

See, back in the 1980s, Michigan came up with this brilliant plan to stop the bottle necking of cases going to appeal.

Instead of providing due process for all citizens, the Michigan COA decided to filter cases it deemed worthy upon the reading of "a clerk", not a judge.

These judges were well aware of the questionable operations in the lower courts so the COA restructured to only take cases that would benefit their own personal interests/investments.

So, what had happened was...

The moment I realized
Judge Michael Kelly was mad at me
According to the Michigan court rules, it says that you can file in the COA anything against a public official.

So, I did, but I did it my way.

I filed an ex-parte writ of Mandamus.  

See, this means that I am asking the court to make a decision on whether a public official has to follow a specific statute, and if they do, the court has to make the decision whether to make the public official do it, or make them show up in court and give a good reason why they are not upholding the

So, the clerk actually calls me to tell me that I had to serve the public official.

I told him I did not, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Michigan Court Rules because it was an extraordinary writ.

Needless to say, I made him and Michael Kelly mad because no one had ever identified this error in the restructuring of the COA.

Of course, I did not bother filing a Michigan Judicial Tenure Grievance because he would have denied that one, too, just like he did all the others.


Of Bloomfield Hills, born 1929 in Cleveland, OH, admitted to bar 1956; trial practice tri-county area; founding partner Kelly, Oster, Brennan, Tatham & Solner; attended John Carroll University, Kent State University and the University of Detroit undergraduate schools (no undergraduate degree); JD University of Detroit 1956; LL.M. University of Virginia (Master of Laws in the Judicial Process) 1982; Korean War Veteran, Eighth Army, Seoul, Korea, 1953-1954; married 1957, four children, Michael, Timothy, John and Kathleen; remarried 1988 to Marilyn E. (Ramirez) who is a practicing R.N., Waterford, Michigan, three stepchildren; former member American Legion, VFW, Knights of Columbus, Board of Advisors of the Saint Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center, Board of Directors of Boysville of Michigan; present member of Detroit Athletic Club, Michigan Handball Association, Trout Creek Condominium Association, Harbor Springs; Director of Incorporated Society of Irish/American Lawyers; professional affiliations include ABA, IJA, AJS, Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and member of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, Inc.; elected member of Judicial Tenure Commission June 13, 1977 through December 31, 1985, past Chairman 1981-1982.

So, if you have a case, or know of a case, where you find out a judge did something jacked up like sit on a board or have financial interests with a party of a case, where that particular party committed fraud upon the court, and continues to rule in their favor, you, and the public, are just out of luck.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission just sucks.

And so does Kelly Ramsey.

State Supreme Court considers limits on judicial misconduct probes

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - A new rule being considered by the state's highest court could limit complaints of misconduct against judges. Michigan's Supreme Court justices are considering adding a three-year statute of limitations to complaints filed against judges with the Judicial Tenure Commission.

According to the proposed rule, “any complaint filed more than three years after the grievant knew…or should have known...shall be dismissed.” Since 2014, 34 judges across the state have faced some sort of action that began at the Judicial Tenure Commission, which can range from a letter of caution to being removed from the bench entirely.

 "There’s just all kind of reasons why trying to defend something three years after the fact is difficult," said Brian Einhorn, an attorney in support of the rule change.

Einhorn has represented dozens of judges accused of misconduct, from former Judge Wade McCree—who carried on an affair with a litigant—to ex-Justice Diane Hathaway, who was sent to prison for bank fraud.

"If a person knows that a judge did something three and a half or four years ago, I don’t think it’s fair to the judge to have to defend himself," Einhorn said.

But not all attorneys agree. Peter Henning is a former federal prosecutor and today is a law professor at Wayne State University.

 "You’re talking about an individual who has immense power and can be quite intimidating," Henning said.

"If you have certain types of cases, say for example a sexual harassment case, that may take years to surface because the individual who was harassed is going to be intimidated and might not have the strength to come forward for four or five years."

 The proposed rule allows for claims outside of the three-year statute of limitations to be considered for "good cause," but critics fear the term is vague and could lead to prolonged legal battles.

 "Should the judge be able to get off simply because (misconduct) happened more than three years ago?" asked Chanel 7's Ross Jones.

 "But we’re dealing with something that’s probably not going to happen very often,"  Einhorn responded.

 But there have been past examples of misconduct that could have been thrown out with a statute of limitations.

 In Wayne County, Judge Bruce Morrow was disciplined for misconduct that happened years before a formal complaint was filed, including giving bond to a man after he was convicted of rape, even though state law didn’t allow it. Morrow was suspended for two months.

 Today in Livingston County, Judge Teresa Brennan is under fire for her affair with a state police officer that testified in a murder trial in her courtroom.

His testimony helped to send a man to prison.

Their affair happened more than three years before it was finally discovered.

It’s unclear if the JTC is investigating Brennan.

 Still, attorney Brian Einhorn says judges shouldn’t have to defend themselves from years-old allegations, after memories fade and evidence becomes stale.

 "There’s timing for doing everything," Einhorn said.

"And there’s nothing different about a judge being accused of misconduct to a lawyer being accused of malpractice to a doctor being accused of malpractice."

 Except in Michigan, there is no statute of limitations for complaints against lawyers or doctors, either.

Giving judges special protection would be unique and improper, argues Carl Marlinga, who is a judge himself.

 "The unintended effect, certainly, is to offer a level of protection for bad judges," Marlinga said. "With the judiciary, maximum integrity is the minimum qualification.

Anything that would protect or shield a judge from scrutiny I just think is wrong."

 A decision on the proposed statute of limitations and scores of other rules currently being considered by the Michigan Supreme Court could come any day.

 "What is the benefit?" asks Wayne State's Peter Henning.

"What is the upside, other than what appears to be giving judges added protections?"

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