Novi's Judge Dennis Powers Retires
Today is the first day Judge Powers' courtroom sits empty following his sudden change in plans.
The embattled judge was facing a trial this month at the Judicial Tenure Commission over allegations of improper expense reports, a "ghost docket", threatening a "whistle blower" staff member, and other judicial improprieties. Up until 2-weeks ago, it looked like Judge Powers, 72-years old and thus ineligible by age to run for another election under state law, was determined to fight the charges to the bitter end. Judge Powers' lawyers at the Vandeveer Garza law firm were gearing-up; now they have withdrawn from the matter.
Not to condone judicial impropriety [these allegations will never carry the weight of a judicial conviction in light of the Judge's sudden retirement], but we here at the Law Blogger will hate to see Judge Powers go. He was always a gracious and reasonable jurist in our experience. Personally, I had one of my biggest felony cases begin in the Novi District Court, and Judge Powers handled it very well; for that I will always be grateful.
That said, however, this is truly a bad end to an otherwise outstanding judicial tenure. When judges are accused of impropriety -something that has been rampant out in Novi- the effect is that the foundation of the justice system erodes and the community loses faith in the concept of achieving justice as a civic goal in our free society. This is not a good result in a community governed by laws that are ruled on by an elected judiciary.
The next step in this mess is for Governor Rick Snyder to appoint a lawyer to finish-out Judge Powers' two year term.