The Michigan and Detroit Chapter of the NLG drafted an amicus brief which we have submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court in support of progressive Wayne Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow in his appeal of the discipline (90 day unpaid suspension) which has been imposed on him for alleged judicial misconduct by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC). A copy of our brief is linked below.
Judge Morrow is under a concerted attack by the Wayne County Prosecutor because he takes seriously his responsibility to be fair to both sides in criminal prosecutions, and is constantly looking for new and creative ways to deliver justice in one of the country’s busiest criminal courts. The prosecutor’s office cherry-picked the thousands of cases Judge Morrow presided over for during a six year period, and came up with 10 cases in which they claimed he committed judicial misconduct. Our brief on his behalf pointed out that the vast majority of these accusations involved legal rulings which were susceptible of review on appeal, and therefore are not appropriately the subject of judicial discipline. The remaining allegations cannot seriously be considered to be judicial misconduct.
We submitted our brief to both the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan and the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar association, and both organizations agreed to join in our brief. These are the two largest organizations of criminal defense attorneys in the state.
Oral argument on the case took place in Lansing today (March 5); Initial reports suggest that the MI Supreme Court may well uphold a number of the specific incidents of alleged misconduct, but hopefully will decide that the penalty imposed by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission is too severe.
The NLG issues its profound thanks to our members who worked so hard on this amicus brief: Denise Heberle; Desiree Ferguson, David Cripps, and John Royal.
View the amicus here: NLG Judge Morrow Amicus.III