Editor’s Note: Judge shouldn’t be paid to not judge

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

No work, no pay should apply to public employees the same as it does to those in the private sector.

It doesn’t, at least in Ann Arbor’s 15th District Court, where Judge Christopher Easthope will not hear any cases for the rest of the year, but will continue to draw his $138,000 salary.

Easthope, whose resignation takes effect Dec. 31, was caught up in a drug use scandal revealed by more than 400 fratboy-style text messages between him and a local attorney. The texts suggest the two engaged in dope smoking, and that the judge may have helped his pal get a $201,000 city contract.

Chief Judge Elizabeth Pollard announced that to allow Easthope to continue to hear cases would cause the public to question the court’s integrity. Washtenaw County residents have reason to be suspect of judicial credibility. Of the county’s five district judges, three have been caught up in ethics scandals.

Pollard is right that Easthope shouldn’t hear cases. But he shouldn’t be paid either. He says he wants to stay on to ease the transition to a new judge.

That shouldn’t be his choice. Gov. Rick Snyder, the Legislature and the Michigan Supreme Court have the power to remove him from the bench. One of the three should step up and do it.