BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) - The findings of a hearing accusing a female judge of misconduct were “blatantly sexist” and a new hearing with a different judge should be ordered, the Michigan judge said.
Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan on Monday asked the Judicial Tenure Commission to reject retired Judge William Giovan’s report, The Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported. The commission serves as the state’s watchdog over the judiciary.
The commission has accused Brennan of ethics violations in how she ran her office and for her relationship with a police detective during a murder trial.
Brennan violated the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct and the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, according to Giovan’s December report. Brennan committed “gross misconduct” by concealing her relationship with the detective and made staff conduct personal errands for her on public time, the report said.
Sexism is “irreparably tainting” the findings, Brennan’s filing said. There’s no evidence to support Giovan’s conclusion and many of his findings exaggerate testimony from several witnesses, she said.
Brennan was barred from hearing cases in June after the commission filed its formal complaint. She has continued to receive pay and benefits.
The commission’s staff last month asked the state Supreme Court to suspend Brennan without pay while the misconduct allegations are investigated. The high court initially rejected the petition on a technicality, citing that the recommendation must come from the commission, not its staff. The commission refiled the petition Monday.
In a separate criminal case, Brennan is also accused of perjury and destroying evidence in her divorce case. State police say she lied during a deposition about erasing data from her iPhone shortly after her ex-husband filed for divorce in 2016.
Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com