Hamtramck judge accused of berating cancer patient for overgrown yard apologizes

A Hamtramck judge accused of berating a cancer patient apologized for her actions, saying she "made a mistake" and is "very embarrassed."

Alexis Krot, a jurist at Hamtramck's 31st District Court, was recorded in a video that went viral last week, addressing Burhan Chowdhury, 72, who had been accused of failing to maintain his yard, the Washington Post reported.

In a statement dated Tuesday and posted on the court's website, Krot expressed regret for the interaction. 

"I made a mistake. I acted intemperately. I'm very embarrassed that I did so," she wrote. "I apologize to the person who appeared before me and to our entire community for having failed to meet the high standards that we expect of our judicial officers, and that I expect of myself."

During the hearing Krot's statement references, the judge called Chowdhury's issues with maintaining his property "shameful."

"If I could give you jail time on this, I would," Krot told Chowdhury. "You should be ashamed of yourself."

Judge Alexis Krot of Hamtramck's 31st District Court

Krot added in her statement that she self-reported her behavior to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. 

"When someone appears before me and has made a mistake, I expect them to own up to it," Krot said. "I expect nothing less of myself.

"I had no legal duty to report myself to the commission. But I did so because, like apologizing to the community, it was the right thing to do," she added. "I will continue to hold myself to the standards I set for others."

By Thursday, more than 229,000 people signed a petition on change.org calling for Krot's removal from the bench.

During Chowdhury's Zoom court appearance, the Washington Post reported, the man struggled to breathe as he explained to Krot that he was "very weak" and unable to clean up the grass that had overtaken the home over the summer.

A ticket had been issued on Aug. 2, 2021, for, what Krot later described as, "failing to keep the fence, walkway, sidewalk or alley free of trees, leaves" or other items.

The judge ordered Chowdhury to pay a $100 fine. 

On Wednesday, a state lawmaker representing Hamtramck said he plans to file a complaint with Michigan court officials and a judicial review board.

Michigan State Rep. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, said Krot's behavior was "egregious."

"Black and brown folks and those who have English as a second language often bear the brunt of this kind of treatment in the judicial system," Aiyash said. "There is a concern about this pattern of behavior (allegedly by Krot) that needs to be addressed."

The State Court Administrative Office works with local trial court judges to address and resolve complaints received from litigants or other stakeholders in the justice system, Michigan Supreme Court spokesman John Nevin said Thursday. 

"Resolution involves any number of steps such as further training or counseling; however, these are personnel-related matters and are not made public," Nevin said. 

Efforts to reach Krot were not successful. She was appointed by then-Michigan Gov.  Rick Snyder in 2016 and was elected in 2018.

The Hamtramck City Council is expected to address the matter at its next regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting.