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A fact-finder who overheard arguments in a judicial misconduct case involving a Wayne Circuit Court family judge should be dismissed, according to a disciplinary report.

In his eight-page report, jurist John O’Hair concluded Judge Richard Halloran “did no wrong.”

Halloran has been under investigation for the past year by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission on complaints he “granted judgments of divorce without taking the statutory proofs establishing the court’s jurisdiction and/or establishing that there has been a breakdown in the marriage relationship.”

In its formal complaint against Halloran, the tenure commission found Halloran “admitted to granting judgments of divorce despite failing to establish statutory requirements in possibly over 400 divorce cases” Halloran handled between June 2013 and Jan. 14, 2015.

But in his Nov. 10 decision, O’Hair found that Halloran had “discussed at length with the attorneys his desire to use the (shortened) procedure. He further asked the attorneys if they had concerns or objections to the (brief) procedure none were ever voiced.”

O’Hair said Halloran used “the precise language statutorily mandated by the Legislature.” While Halloran used the “abbreviated” court procedure, he used it to “modernize and expedite the trial procedure to establish court jurisdiction and the grounds for divorce.”

Halloran’s attorney, Philip Thomas, a former prosecutor for the tenure commission and executive director of the state’s Attorney Grievance Commission, said the tenure commission “got it wrong” while O’Hair “got it right.”

“I don’t think there’s anywhere for the case to go other than being closed down,” Thomas said.

Paul Fischer, executive director and general counsel for the tenure commission, says the nine commissioners will decide what to do next. The commission can decide to accept O’Hair’s recommendations to dismiss or set the matter for further hearings and arguments.

The commission next meets Dec. 14.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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