Oakland Co. judge faces misconduct hearing after handling of child custody case

A local judge who made national headlines for sending three children to a detention center for refusing to spend time with their father appeared in court Monday for her misconduct hearing.

Standing before a panel of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca sat quietly during her hearing for her handling of a bitter custody battle that lasted more than 5 years.

"The video shows (Gorcyca) was demeaning, humiliating, intimidating and disparaging to these children," attorneys said in court.

In July, the commission ruled Gorcyca is guilty of misconduct in the case and now must decide to accept or deny that ruling.

Last year, Gorcyca remanded the three Tsimhoni children to Children's Village for refusing to spend time with their father. The kids were 9, 10 and 13 years old at that time.

"This case was and is every judge's nightmare -- five years of the most contentious, vexatious litigation imaginable," said Thomas Cranmer, Gorcyca's attorney.

Gorcyca has testified that she tried several strategies with the kids, but they wouldn't listen. She said that the kids had a choice to see their father and warned them they could go to jail.

"This was a case of extreme parental alienation. I think it was a credit to her that in the face of that, she didn't lose her objectivity. She tried as best she could to simply have the children have a relationship with both parents," Cranmer said.

But referencing the video once again Monday, it was argued that Gorcyca abused her power, acted inappropriately and took her anger and frustration out on the children.

At the end of the roughly 90-minute hearing, the commission's chairman reassured both parties that their arguments are being taken very seriously. A final decision has yet to be made.