Mich. Supreme Court suspends 36th District judge

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
  • Judge Brenda K. Sanders accused of having “psychotic delusions.”
  • Sanders suspended after scathing psychiatrist’s report.
  • She claims her email, phone and bank accounts hacked.

Detroit — The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday suspended 36th District Court Judge Brenda K. Sanders on allegations of judicial misconduct.

The court also cited her for being in contempt on an earlier order by the court to submit to an independent medical examiner for a psychiatric evaluation.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission sought Sander’s suspension from the bench in June citing “psychotic delusions” and alleged judicial misconduct. It petitioned the Supreme Court to immediately remove Sanders from the bench temporarily without pay pending disciplinary hearings.

“The Honorable Brenda K. Sanders, Judge of the 36th District Court, is suspended without pay until such time as she shows cause why she should not be held in contempt for failing to obey the July 17, 2014, order of this Court to cooperate with the independent medical examiner and provide such information as the independent medical examiner shall reasonably request,” read the order released Thursday.

Sanders has been off work since October. The judge was on medical leave and then placed on administrative leave from her $138,000-a-year position.

In a 14-page complaint filed earlier this month, the commission justified its request for the suspension based on what it says is Sanders’ “mental disability which prevents the performance of judicial duties as defined by the Michigan Constitution.”

Sanders’ attorney, Brian Einhorn, disputed the report, saying the evaluation of the judge’s mental status was done without a mental examination ordered by the commission.

“The main problem is that she was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination without any physical evidence to support it,” Einhorn said about the commission’s allegations. “The doctor has not examined her at all. Never spoken to her.”

Attempts to reach Sanders were not successful.

The commission said Sanders skipped several medical appointments she had earlier agreed to.

The Lansing psychiatrist who was scheduled to exam Sanders said the judge “suffers from psychiatric symptoms that include psychotic delusions” and her delusions are “paranoid in nature where she believes irrationally that she is a victim of conspiracies and plot.”

“Judge Sanders should not be sitting in judgment of anyone until she is determined to be free of the psychosis that renders her a danger to self and others,” the psychiatrist’s evaluation of Sanders reads, according to the complaint. “

According to the commission’s complaint, Sanders sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in December 2013 requesting a federal investigation, saying she (Sanders) was the target of corruption and a conspiracy in an attempt to eliminate her from the 36th District Court bench before she was sworn in as a judge in December 2008.

Sanders also wrote two judges have “suddenly died under suspicious circumstances” in the past two years and that “judges have been murdered because they spoke out against some of the wrongs that were being committed ‘in this court.”

In the letter to McQuade, Sanders, who is the alleged author, wrote “all of my email accounts, bank accounts, cell phones, etc. have been hacked and are currently being tracked.” She added someone threatened to burn down her residence.

This is the second judicial complaint filed against Sanders.

In 2008, the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a complaint against her in connection with her campaign to run for mayor of Detroit in a special nonpartisan mayoral primary while she was a judge on the 36th District Court bench. She was suspended without pay by the Michigan Supreme Court for 21 days on the complaint.


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