Judge Gorcyca withdraws from custody battle after complaint
An Oakland County judge who drew criticism in her handling of a custody case involving three Bloomfield Hills children has disqualified herself from the case.
In a four-page opinion filed Monday in Oakland County Circuit Court, Judge Lisa Gorcyca wrote that although she isn’t biased against either party in the case, she will withdraw because the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a complaint against her involving the case.
“This court finds, based on objective and reasonable perceptions, that its continued assignment may create an appearance of impropriety,” Gorcyca wrote.
Gorcyca has been presiding over a drawn out custody battle between Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni, who said his ex-wife turned their children against him while he was working in Israel. The children said their father is violent and they are afraid of him.
Gorcyca’s decision to remove herself comes almost two weeks after the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a complaint against Gorcyca for the case in which she ordered two brothers, 14 and 11 years old, and their 9-year-old sister into the county’s Children’s Village juvenile detention facility after they disobeyed her repeated orders to have a healthy relationship with their father during his visits.
The children were later transferred to a summer camp — but not before case attracted international attention.
The couple divorced in August 2011 and their mother has had sole custody with their father granted visitation privileges prior to this past year. He is seeking full custody.
Gorcyca made international news when she found the children in contempt of court after they refused to eat with, talk to or even look at their father. At one point, she called the behavior “cult like” and scolded the children and their mother for not following the court’s instructions.
In the same opinion Monday, Gorcyca denied Eibschitz-Tsimhoni’s oral motion for disqualification.
Eibschitz-Tsimhoni had claimed that Gorcyca had shown bias in favor of her ex-husband. When Gorcyca refused to disqualify herself, the mother appealed to chief Oakland Circuit Judge Nanci Grant, who recused herself from deciding the matter.
The Michigan Court of Appeals also refused to hear the disqualification case and it was transferred to St. Clair County Chief Judge Daniel Kelly by the State Court Administrator’s Office.
There is a gag order preventing the parents or their attorneys from discussing the matter.