36th District Court Judge 'unfit' for office in blistering report by state judicial commission

36th District Court Judge Kahlilia Davis 

Detroit 36th District Court Judge Kahlilia Davis was slammed in a scathing report as "incorrigible and incapable" of reforming her behavior which included abuse of her powers and should be removed, the Judicial Tenure Commission ruled Friday.

Davis was rebuked in the lengthy report for aggressively ignoring efforts to correct her behavior as the nine-member commission unanimously recommended she be removed from the bench and suspended without pay for six years. 

The commission, which is the state's watchdog agency for judges, cited "multiple and distinct acts of pervasive on-the-bench misconduct" in the lengthy review.

Listed in the recommendation, she:

  • "… incorrectly and incompetently applied contempt law, abusing her power and, in the process, ordering thousands of dollars to be unjustly paid and in jailing another who was later released by the Chief Judge of the 36th District Court after spending a night in jail and ultimately acquitted."
  • "… deemed a process server untrustworthy and dismissed or adjourned every case brought before her in which the server irrrespective of the cases and continued each and every time despite Chief Judge Blount ordering her to stop."
  • "Her routine tardiness missed days of work and poor job performance resulted in the state court administrative office stepping in with assistance from Blount and others creating a performance plan."

In this case, FOX 2 Problem Solver Rob Wolchek has previously reported how the first three months of 2017 she did not show up for work. She then sued because the chief judge would not let her hear cases. In Wolchek's investigation she claimed that she had complications from surgery, yet he found her out and about.

36th District Court Judge Kahlilia Davis

36th District Court Judge Kahlilia Davis 

More: Problem Solvers: The case of the no-show judge

According to the judicial commission, "She defensively refused participation and instead attacked those assigned to help her with written threats and barbs including biblical quotes "insinuating that her colleagues and administrators should or would 'go to hell.'"

  • "She also tried using her status as a judge while out in the public for improper personal gain including to illegally park in handicap loading and unloading zones at her gym while displaying a Detroit police ‘personal business’ placard falsely and showing her judge's badge to a responding police officer."
  • "She repeatedly lied under oath about intentionally disabling her courtroom's video equipment for recording her courtroom proceedings."

 In 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended Davis for failing to keep a video record of the court cases in violation of Michigan Court rules. 

  • "She also submitted a sworn but false affidavit of identity in support of her candidacy for reelection as a judge."

More recently in March of 2022, she was accused of abusing her court powers in a commission report. She was said to have abused or contempt of court powers, and interfered in the work and livelihood of a process server for the court, even lying under oath. 

In 2017 Wolchek reported that Judge Davis filed for bankruptcy even though her salary was, at the time, $138,000 a year. 

"The commission deems the respondent incorrigible and incapable of conforming her behavior to the standards required of a judge," the review said, "and views the misconduct proven in Counts I through VI taken as a whole, worthy of removal for the maintenance of the integrity of the judicial process."

Read the entire filing below: