State Supreme Court hears case against Judge Lisa Gorcyca

- The Michigan Supreme Court is deciding the fate of a local judge facing misconduct charges for locking up three siblings.

After more than a year of legal wrangling she's now pleading her case in front of the Michigan Supreme Court. The justices seem to sympathize with Judge Lisa Gorcyca that the Tsimhoni family custody case was challenging from the start but what they didn't seem to understand is why she lost her temper and treated these children like criminals, never taking responsibility for her actions.

"I'm concerned that your client not once acknowledged or admitted that perhaps she lost objectivity and that she blew through the fence at that last hearing," said Chief Justice Robert Young.

Justices with Michigan's highest court showed their concern for the case against Judge Lisa Gorcyca.

The judicial tenure commission found the Oakland County judge guilty of misconduct after transcripts and court video from June 24, 2015 showed her berating three Bloomfield Hills children and eventually sent them to jail for not having lunch with their father.

"I think everything she did in this case - I'm going to say with the exception of the hearing on the 24th and I'll come back to that in just a moment, indicates her good faith and due diligence," said attorney Tom Cranmer.

All along, Gorcyca has claimed her actions weren't the result of one hearing - but five years overseeing the Tsimhoni case with a mother and children ages 9, 11 and 14 who did not follow her orders.

But Lynn Helland now representing the Judicial Tenure Commission claimed Gorcyca abused her authority when she compared the kids to a "Charles Manson cult," gestured the oldest child was crazy, held them in contempt and sent them to jail until they were 18.

FOX 2 also learned that day Gorcyca held the oldest child son in contempt - when he never had an order in front of him to violate.

"We are not talking about juvenile offenders, right," said Justice Richard Bernstein. "We are talking about kids in the middle of a custody case - is that not correct?"

"That is correct," Cranmer said.

"Isn't that a little bit of a different standard at that point," Bernstein said.

"She was frustrated," Cranmer said.

"Unquestionably so," Justice Young said. "And I would say provoked. We are aware of this long history. Even so, judges are expected - even when provoked - to maintain a certain demeanor."

Justice Young also appeared to be upset with Gorcyca's response to the JTC's charges against her. In her response, she denied making a crazy sign with her finger among other actions - although it was clearly caught on video.

"You just say 'I don't remember doing it (but) I obviously did and it was inappropriate,'" Young said.

"I acknowledge that the answer could have been and should have been better," Cranmer said.

But when it came down to it, the justices worried about the implications of this case concerning judges who make bad rulings.

"I'm worried about that," said Justice Bridget Mary McCormack. “I feel like we are going to have to build a lot of judge jails because I think a lot of judges make legal errors and we have a process for that."

The JTC recommended a 30-day unpaid suspension, a public censure and a $12,000 fine for Gorcyca. Her attorney wants the case dismissed arguing that she had "one bad day" out of an exemplary career.
 


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