36th District Court judge barred from hearing cases

Judge Kahlilia Yvette Davis

The head judge of Detroit's 36th District Court removed Judge Kahlilia Davis from hearing cases Monday, saying she refused to follow court rules requiring her to use video recording equipment during cases.

"In an effort to ensure the integrity of the judicial system, as well as maintain public trust and confidence in the 36th District Court, I issued an Order today that removes Judge Kahlilia Yvette Davis from presiding over any docket," Chief Judge Nancy Blount wrote.

  "This Order was enacted with the approval of State Court Administrator Milton Mack. As this issue has been of interest to the media and the public in the past, I am issuing this statement to offer as much information as appropriate at this time."

Blount added that Davis has not been using video equipment in her courtroom and has not been placing cases on record "for some time."


"After bringing this matter to her attention, Judge Davis has made it clear that her intention is to continue to circumvent the video reporting system, Blount wrote.

"As Chief Judge, I have a duty to ensure a record of all proceedings is made in compliance with Michigan Court Rules and make certain that no further cases are impacted in this manner."

Work-related issues have been ongoing between Blount and Davis.

Last month, Blount ordered that Davis go through security screening for court staff and attorneys at the front doors of the downtown Detroit courthouse. Other judges are allowed to go through separate entrances.

Blount said Monday that the Feb. 22 order for Davis, which also barred the judge from bringing a weapon into the courthouse, "remains in effect" but that Davis has "put in writing" that she is not physically able to show up for work due to Blount's order that Davis go through security screening.

Because the screening includes metal detectors, Davis would have to come through the front door of the courthouse on Madison Street.

Judge Nancy Blount

"Despite having recently appeared at multiple community events and having walked long distances at such events without assistance, she had stated that she could not walk the distance from the front door to her Chambers," Blount wrote Monday. "A wheelchair was provided for her; however, she has communicated that she lacks the ability to operate the wheelchair and therefore cannot work unless the Court uses public funds to purchase a scooter for her sole use, which I have declined to do."

Blount said "the concerns" that prompted the Feb. 22 order remain.

"It is with much disappointment that I must also remove Judge Davis from hearing cases," wrote Blount. " However, my commitment to the public, staff, and our justice system partners is paramount."

 Davis has been on the 36th District Court bench since 2017. 


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