June 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Embattled Novi judge touts re-election support from Oakland County officials, attorneys

Brian MacKenzie (Detroit News file photo)

Novi— An embattled district judge who has drawn the ire of Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper apparently also has his share of supporters — more than 400 of them, including Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Novi 52-1 District Judge Brian MacKenzie’s re-election camp issued a press release Monday noting that hundreds of elected officials, judges and attorneys have endorsed his re-election.

The Committee to Retain Judge Brian MacKenzie announced the bipartisan support includes Patterson, the county’s most prominent Republican; Oakland County Treasurer Andrew Meisner, a top Oakland County Democratic officeholder; and others.

“I have known this judge for well over 25 years,” said one supporter, Novi Mayor Robert Gatt. “As a former Novi police officer and community corrections administrator, I can tell you first-hand that Judge MacKenzie is one of the finest judges in Oakland County. The innovative programs that he has created have served our communities well. There can be no substitute for the imagination, flexibility, empathy and professionalism that he brings to his job.”

A complete list of endorsements can be viewed here.

MacKenzie, a Novi district judge since 1988, faces a civil lawsuit by Cooper’s office. The legal filing seeks to have him found in contempt of Oakland Circuit Judge Colleen O’Brien’s order in February that he turn over a list of dismissed misdemeanor cases involving domestic violence.

O’Brien ruled MacKenzie exceeded his discretion in dismissing some cases and Cooper’s office alleges it has discovered additional cases “withheld” by MacKenzie and in violation of O’Brien’s instructions.

MacKenzie found himself in hot water after delaying sentences in some cases or allegedly providing alternative sentences to jail without input from Cooper’s office. Cooper’s office also complained MacKenzie suppressed many of the court files after making the decisions.

Cooper’s office was always given notice, MacKenzie insisted in court documents, and added if files were kept from public view, it was in keeping with the law for cases taken under advisement that qualified to be dismissed.

O’Brien has given MacKenzie until July 2 to respond to the allegations before she issues an opinion or orders a formal hearing.

MacKenzie has declined comment on the new charges but his attorney, John J. Lynch, says it is politically motivated to disrupt MacKenzie’s efforts in the August primary, where he is being challenged by two other candidates.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com
(248) 338-0319