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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Judge's Affair With Detective Could Cost Seat on Bench

Embattled Livingston County
Judge Theresa Brennan
Over the years, lawyers have emerged from Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan's courtroom with a common complaint: treated by the judge with disrespect.

Many lawyers have reported being profoundly embarrassed and humiliated, often in front of their clients. One of our associates witnessed Judge Brennan berate her own clerk in highly unflattering terms in front of a packed courtroom.

Last week, however, it was Judge Brennan's turn to be profoundly embarrassed. During a court session, Michigan State Police detectives entered her courtroom while Judge Brennan was on the bench and on the record, in order to seize computers from her court and chambers. She is reported to have quickly left the bench, and left the court for the rest of the day.

The following day, electronic devices were removed from her home. Although it is unknown what data is stored on the devices, we here at the Law Blogger have a darn good idea.

The Detroit Free Press surmises that charges from the Michigan Attorney General could come at some point. So what is all this fuss about?

Judge Brennan presided over a double murder trial back in 2013. Subsequent to this murder trial, she went through her own divorce. During the divorce, her former husband asserted that Brennan was having an ongoing affair with a MSP detective; the officer in charge of the murder case.

Brennan did not deny the affair. Both Brennan and the detective claimed in divorce depositions, however, that their tryst did not commence until after the double murder trial was completed.

Now, her assertion in this regard has become the focus of the MSP investigation. Press reports indicate that Brennan made more than 3 dozen calls to her lover during the course of the double murder trial, including one on the day prior to the sentencing hearing.

While criminal charges may be unlikely, Brennan could also be the respondent in a complaint brought by the Judicial Tenure Commission. Those proceedings are civil rather than criminal.

When it comes to judges, like other public officials, the initial sin is one thing; lying under oath to cover-up that sin is another grave transgression. We think that is what the MSP dove into this week.

This bold and pompous judge is now the one who may be judged. Many legal professionals see this as "karma juris".

Meanwhile, Judge Brennan was on the bench yesterday, apparently unfazed by the cloud hovering over her professional standing. Litigants, for the most part, were nonplussed to be on the receiving end of any decision from a jurist under severe scrutiny for perjury or obstruction.

What a complete mess. We here at the Law Blogger believe the best thing for Judge Brennan to do is to immediately step-down while she is under this investigative cloud.

The odds are that once she leaves the bench, she will not be coming back. Most lawyers will not be disappointed to see her go. And if she stays, then the voters get to decide whether she is fit to decide the fate of the citizens of Howell, Brighton and their surrounding communities.

Good riddance as judges must be held to a higher standard. We will keep you posted on the developments of this one.

Post #591

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