Judge is accused of using sexual language to advise assistant prosecutor on art of direct examination

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A Michigan judge has been accused of using language so sexually charged in providing feedback to an assistant prosecutor that she felt “frozen” and afraid to move.

Judge Bruce Morrow of Wayne County, Michigan, was accused in an ethics complaint released last week by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. The complaint says Morrow violated canons requiring judges to be dignified and courteous and to treat others with respect.

The assistant prosecutor had asked Morrow for feedback on her direct examination of a medical examiner in a June 2019 trial. Morrow told the assistant prosecutor that he would come down from the bench to speak with her “because what he was going to say to her would make her ‘blush,’ ” the ethics complaint says. He sat next to the assistant prosecutor and “positioned himself very close” to her, according to the complaint.

Morrow asked the assistant prosecutor whether she wanted foreplay before or after sex and then said foreplay is before sexual intercourse.

He allegedly stated words to the effect of: “The climax of sex is akin to getting the medical examiner to state the cause and manner of death after getting the details of his examination of the body. … You start with all the information from the report, all the testimony crescendos to the cause and manner of death, which is the sex of the testimony. … You want to tease the jury with the details of the examination. … You want to lead them to the climax of the manner and cause of death.”

During juror deliberations in the case, Morrow asked the assistant prosecutor, a second assistant prosecutor and the defense counsel to join him in chambers. During that time, he discussed introduction of prosecution evidence that a defendant’s DNA was in a vaginal swab from a deceased victim.

“All you did was show they f- - -ed!” Morrow allegedly said.

Morrow also made fun of the defendant’s testimony that he did not have sex with the woman the way they normally did because she was pregnant and he didn’t want to hurt the baby. Morrow said words to the effect of: “This guy must feel real good about himself to think his d- - - is that big,” the ethics complaint alleges.

He also critiqued the second assistant prosecutor’s voir dire by saying words to the effect, “If I want to have sex with a woman on the first date, how would I figure that out? I wouldn’t ask her if she wants family or children or what she does. I would ask her, ‘Have you had sex on a first date before?’ Would you sleep with me on a first date?”

Morrow is also accused of asking the assistant prosecutor whether she weighed 115 pounds and asking the second prosecutor, “how tall she was and how much she weighed,” according to the complaint.

When the first assistant prosecutor answered, Morrow allegedly responded with words to the effect of: “Well, I haven’t assessed your muscle mass yet.” During the conversation, the ethics complaint says, Morrow “was overtly eyeing both of their bodies.”

Hat tip to the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, which had coverage of the complaint.

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