Legal Ethics

Judge admits sex with witness in chambers, but says it didn't affect his decision-making


A lawyer for an embattled Michigan judge who is facing an ethics complaint has said he doesn’t believe the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission will be able to prove charges that Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree made a false report of a felony, made misrepresentations to the commission and engaged in improper bench conduct and demeanor.

However, in an answer to the JTC complaint filed earlier this month, the judge admitted, in response to a claim that he had sex in chambers with a witness in a child-support case, that he indeed “made the unfortunate decision to engage in a sexual relationship with [the witness] and also admits that on a few occasions, the relationship took place in his chambers.” The judge’s answer to the ethics complaint was among documents in the case released Thursday by the commission, reports the Detroit Free Press.

McCree also admitted that he should have recused himself, but didn’t, from hearing the child-support case after he became involved with the witness, Geniene La’Shay Mott, the newspaper says.

But McCree’s response denies that he allowed his relationship with Mott “to influence his judicial conduct or judgment” and says it “did not impact any of Judge McCree’s decisions” concerning the other party, Robert King, in the child-support case, according to Detroit News and WXYZ.

A MLive.com article provides a link to the commission’s complaint (PDF) against the judge.

It says McCree got Mott’s personal phone number from a case file and made a lunch date, which resulted in casual sex, sometimes in the judge’s chambers. As a result, Mott had unusual access, and was sometimes left alone in chambers while McCree took the bench, the complaint says. It also accuses McCree of helping Mott smuggle a cell phone into the court against court policy.

The two repeatedly discussed the merits of Mott’s child-support case, the complaint says.

As detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, the ethics case was sparked by McCree’s own complaint to authorities that Mott was stalking and extorting him. Wayne County prosecutors declined to pursue charges against Mott, but referred the matter to the commission concerning the judge’s conduct.

WXYZ reported last month that King, the other party in the child-support case, has sued both the judge and Mott in federal court. Among other allegations, King, who is Mott’s ex-husband, contends that the judge advised Mott on strategy for obtaining child-support payments more quickly.

McCree has been suspended from working as a judge and, at last report, his pay was being held in escrow.

Also see:

ABAJournal.com: “Reports: Judge Complains of Claimed Stalker, Ends Up on Admin Leave, Facing Another Ethics Complaint”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge accused of having relationship with party in child-support case is suspended”

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