Posted Sep 10, 2013 01:58 pm CDT
A Michigan judge known for the shirtless photo he texted of his bare chest to a bailiff who worked in his courtroom and his unapologetic response when confronted by a news reporter last year should be removed from the bench, an ethics panel has recommended.
It focused on the affair Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree subsequently had with a complaining witness in a child-support case he was overseeing, and the material misrepresentations he made under oath, among other issues in what it called a pattern of misconduct, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Associated Press also has a story.
Over a period of months, including while he was presiding over a case in which Geniene Mott was a complaining witness, McCree “used his chambers to engage in sexual intercourse with Mott, permitted Mott to enter the courthouse through an employee entrance without going through security, allowed Mott to remain alone in his chambers while he was on the bench, arranged for Mott to park her vehicle in an area reserved for judges, and brought Mott’s cell phone into the courthouse for her, in violation of the court’s security policy, so that she could communicate with him while he was on the bench. In addition, Respondent regularly engaged in numerous ex parte discussions with Mott,” the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission in its Monday decision (PDF) said.
McCree admitted during his testimony that he should have recused himself earlier from the case in which Mott was involved, calling his failure to do so “an absolute pure oversight.” However, he said his relationship with Mott didn’t affect his treatment of the father in the child-support case.
The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether to accept the commission’s recommendation, which also calls for McCree to pay nearly $12,000 in costs for the proceeding and, should he be re-elected after his term of office expires at the end of 2014, suspended for a six-year period, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
Attorney Brian Einhorn represented McCree, who a physician testified might suffer from hypomania, a bipolar condition. “I don’t agree with it,” but “I’m not surprised,” Einhorn told the Free Press in response to a request for comment about Monday’s decision in the legal ethics case.
The judge was suspended without pay earlier this year.
ABAJournal.com: “‘No Shame In My Game,’ Says Judge of Chest Photo Angry Husband Claimed to Find on Bailiff Cellphone”
ABAJournal.com: “Reports: Judge Complains of Claimed Stalker, Ends Up on Admin Leave, Facing Another Ethics Complaint”
ABAJournal.com: “Judge admits sex with witness in chambers, but says it didn’t affect his decision-making”
MLive.com: “Hypomania blamed for Detroit Judge Wade McCree’s questionable behavior”