June 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Oakland Co. prosecutor seeks contempt order against Novi judge

Pontiac— Novi 52-1 District Judge Brian Mackenzie should be found in contempt of court for not providing Oakland County’s prosecutor and circuit court with a complete list of cases they allege he has allegedly improperly dismissed.

Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Jeffrey Kaelin sought the contempt order Tuesday against Mackenzie.

The complaint is before Oakland Circuit Judge Colleen O'Brien. . Kaelin wants O'Brien to review the cases privately and then order Mackenzie to respond by July 9 why he shouldn't be found in contempt of her earlier ruling that he had overstepped his authority in dismissing cases in some instances and ordered him to comply with standard court procedures.

Kaelin's filing said his office had uncovered at least 55 incidents in which it is believed Mackenzie has overstepped his authority and discretion in domestic abuse cases.

Mackenzie declined comment on new allegations Tuesday but his attorneys said they question the motive of the prosecutor's filings, which they believe are intended to derail Mackenzie's efforts for re-election. Mackenzie is being challenged in the August primary.

"The timing of this motion is very suspicious considering Judge Mackenzie is currently up for re-election, " said Mackenzie's attorney, John Lynch.

"Months ago Judge Mackenzie responded appropriately with complete oversight of the entire 52nd Court administration," said Lynch. "If (Cooper) wants to find someone in contempt, then she might want to file against every one who works in that court.

"Every effort was made to comply but they say they have found 33 other cases and won't even give us a chance to look at these cases."

Lynch said one of the few cases cited in the new filing is a marijuana possession case with "nothing to do with domestic violence."

Cooper is angered by Mackenzie sometimes processing cases in his court without one of her prosecutors being present to argue against dismissals and alternatives to jail time. Additionally, she alleged that Mackenzie concealed his actions by sealing some cases, hampering Kaelin and others from reviewing sentences.

Mackenzie has earlier countered Cooper's office has always been aware of planned sentencings but has chosen to staff his courtroom only on certain designated days. He insists his court is often too busy to wait for a designated day.

In court filings Mackenzie has said he has only sealed cases as required by law.

Mackenzie is a well-known veteran jurist better known for having developed award-winning sobriety and veteran's courts with alternative programs, which he believes are more constructive than jail time.

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