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A Better Partnership
March 27, 2014

Michigan judge removed for sexual relationship with witness, derogatory text messages about litigants

In an opinion issued yesterday, the Michigan Supreme Court removed Wayne Circuit Court Judge Wade H. McCree and preemptively suspended him for six years in the event he wins re-election. Among other things, the Court found that the judge had engaged in a sexual relationship with a witness in a pending case without recusing himself, and transmitted text messages to her while he was on the bench that were derogatory to defendants, litigants, and witnesses appearing before him.

The March 26, 2014, opinion, joined by six of the seven Justices and available here, found that the judge "(a) had a sexual relationship with a complaining witness in a case pending before him without recusing himself for several months, (b) engaged in
numerous ex parte communications with her concerning the case, as well as concerning another case in which one of her relatives was a party, (c) violated various policies of the courthouse by permitting his mistress to enter the facility through an employee entrance without going through security, allowing her to remain alone in his chambers while he was on the bench, arranging for her to park her vehicle in an area reserved for judges, and sneaking her cell phone into the courthouse for her, (d) transmitted numerous text messages to her while he was on the bench that contained inappropriate and derogatory references to defendants, litigants, and witnesses appearing before him, (e) lied about when and why he finally did recuse himself from the case in which his mistress was the complaining witness, (f) sought to use the prosecuting attorney’s office as leverage against his then ex-mistress by concocting charges of stalking and extortion against her, and (g) lied under oath during the [Judicial Tenure Commission] proceedings."

In response to the judge's defense - "no harm no foul" - the Court disagreed:  "The 'harm' done was to the parties' rights to a fair legal process and the public's right to an impartial judiciary, and the 'foul' committed was the resulting violation of Michigan's Code of Judicial Conduct."

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