State Supreme Court to hold hearing on judge's removal

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Lansing -- The Michigan Supreme Court set a hearing Friday on the future of Judge Theresa Brennan, who the Judicial Tenure Commission recommended removal from the bench due to misconduct.

Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan

A 9:30 a.m. June 19 hearing is scheduled before the high court to hear the commission's petition that Brennan, on the 53rd District Court bench in Livingston County since 2005, be removed for one six-year term. The commission also wants Brennan to pay fines and costs.

A review of allegations by the judicial commission determined Brennan failed to disclose a relationship with a state police officer who was a witness in a 2013 murder trial before her.

The commission, which investigates allegations of judicial wrongdoing, determined Brennan not only failed to disclose relevant facts regarding her relationship with state police Lt. Sean Furlong but also her friendship with an attorney who appeared before her. Records indicated Brennan didn’t recuse herself from hearing a divorce case, tampered with evidence and lied under oath.

Brennan also ordered staff members to perform personal tasks for her during work hours.

“Whatever may be the correct standard of what a judge can properly ask of an employee, Judge Brennan went far beyond it," the Judicial Tenure Commission recommendation earlier this month stated. "The evidence showed that (Brennan) required her staff to perform personal tasks ... such as taking her car to the dealership, refueling her car, paying her bills, waiting at her house for cable television to be installed and staining the deck of (her) home."

Brennan should pay $35,570 in costs and expenses, the commission determined.

Brennan is facing felony charges for misconduct in office, including perjury and destroying evidence. A preliminary exam on those offenses, which carry up to 15 years in prison, is scheduled for August 25. Brennan remains free on $30,000 bond.

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