Oakland judge defends locking up 3 kids in custody feud

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Pontiac — An Oakland Circuit Court judge facing a misconduct hearing has defended her decision to send three siblings to juvenile detention for refusing to meet with their estranged father.

Lisa Gorcyca testified Tuesday before the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission she had run out of options in a custody dispute involving the parents of the three children.

Last July, Gorcyca sent the three children — two brothers, aged 14 and 11, and their 9-year-old sister — to juvenile detention at Children’s Village for refusing to have lunch with their dad. The children were released after two weeks.

Gorcyca described the children as engaging in cult-like activity, refusing to eat, talk or even look at their father. She was also criticized for scolding them and laughing in court and making a circular motion with her finger alongside her head which their mother contended referred to their state of mind.

The children, ordered removed from their mother’s custody for several months, are now splitting time with each of their divorced parents, pending a hearing to determine if custody will be changed.

Gorcyca is accused of misconduct and subsequently giving false explanations during the investigation. Tenure Commission staff attorney Margaret Rynier says Gorcyca abused her power. Gorcyca has denied her actions amounted to judicial misconduct.

Gorcyca’s attorney, Tom Cranmer, says she’s guilty only of “caring too much.”

Retired Wayne Circuit Judge Daniel Ryan is conducting the JTC hearing. If the allegations are substantiated, it can lead to disciplinary action against Gorcyca.

About 200 Metro Detroit attorneys wrote a letter of support to the JTC saying the hearing has done Gorcyca an injustice.