Commission wants Wayne Circuit Judge Tracy Green removed from bench

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Detroit – The Judicial Tenure Commission has concluded that Wayne County Circuit Judge Tracy E. Green committed misconduct in lying about the abuse of her young grandsons by her son, and they want her removed from the bench.

The commission – which investigates complaints about Michigan’s judges – released its findings Friday. The commission says that at a July 18 session it had “unanimously concluded there was a preponderance of the evidence” that Green had committed misconduct which “included concealing evidence of her son’s abuse of her grandsons and then lying about it in a multitude of forums and to a host of people, in some cases under oath as a judge, impeding the investigations of the abuse and these proceedings.”

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Tracy E. Green

The Commission’s recommendation now goes to the State Supreme Court which can determine there was no misconduct by Green, or decide to censure, suspend or remove Green from the bench.

Green has insisted she committed no misconduct, that her grandsons were lying about having told her multiple times about suffering physical abuse by her son, Gary Davis-Headd, who was ultimately convicted of two counts of second-degree child abuse in Wayne Circuit Court. She also maintained that the Tenure Commission proceeding against her was unconstitutional and that she was entitled to an in-person hearing – which the commission rejected.

“In this case, (Judge Tracy Green) concealed evidence that her son abused her grandsons," Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission staff members Lynn Helland and Lora Weingarden wrote in one filing. "She thereby violated the criminal law by tampering with evidence of a crime. She lied about having done that, and told multiple related lies in court, to the media, during the Commission’s investigation, and during the hearing before the Master.

"Her conduct was also selfish in that she was trying to save face in supporting her abusive son at the expense of her grandsons, while she ran for judge in 2018 on the platform that she was a child and family welfare advocate."

The boys were under the age of 11 when their father repeatedly spanked, slapped and beat them with a belt as a form of discipline, according to court filings.

Elected in 2018 to the Circuit Court's family division, Green has served in the criminal division since 2019. She was an attorney for more than two decades. She is known for her work in reuniting parents with their children who were in foster care. 

Reached Friday, Green’s attorney Michael Ashcraft said neither he nor the judge could comment on the case outside of legal filings.

“It is the judge’s hope that the public will read those filings which are available on the Tenure Commission’s website,” Ashcraft said but declined to elaborate or even confirm whether Green would remain on the bench pending a decision by the State Supreme Court.

In February, retired Ann Arbor trial Judge Betty Widgeon, appointed special master by the commission, determined that Green violated Michigan court rules and the state's rules of professional conduct by knowingly concealing evidence of the abuse of her grandsons and making false statements about her knowledge of that abuse.  

Widgeon found that the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission did not prove a third complaint, that Green's false statements to the commission were intentional.

Helland, who is executive director of the commission, and Weingarden, a staff attorney, pushed back against that finding, arguing there is ample evidence that Green knew of the abuse and that "her omissions, denials, and misrepresentations were deliberate."

In 2019, Green's son was sentenced to concurrent 4- to 10-year prison terms for each conviction. The commission lodged a complaint against Green in November 2020.

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