Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Hot Dog, yep that's me. I've got no shame in my game."

Thus spoke Wayne County, Michigan Circuit Judge Wade H. McCree.  What prompted Judge McCree to discuss the lack of shame in his game?  He was asked by Detroit's Fox News affiliate to discuss this picture

How did this picture come to the TV station's attention?  Well, it turns out that Judge McCree sent the picture to his bailiff.  The bailiff's husband apparently wasn't amused.

Since Judge McCree's remarkable display of candor to Fox News, he has decided that silence is the best option.  According to the Detroit Free Press, Judge McCree would not speak with them. 

Michigan's Judicial Tenure Commission won't say if a complaint has been filed against the judge.  However, the Wayne County Court's general counsel said that she understood that the bailiff's husband had complained to the commission.

Just sending one picture of yourself partially disrobed to a subordinate might not amount to sexual harassment.  Typically to establish a sexual harassment claim the subordinate must show that they were subjected to a severe or pervasive hostile work environment.  That is, for a single incident to amount to sexual harassment, it has to be severe.  My experience has been that most courts think conduct is severe if it involves some sort of contact, i.e., groping or another form of sexual assault.  For this sort of picture to form a hostile work environment, the employee probably needs to receive a lot of them.  Although the judge acknowledges sending pictures to several women, it sounds like he only sent one to the bailiff.

However, just because Judge McCree might not have sexually harassed anyone does not mean he is off the hook on a complaint to the Judicial Tenure Commission.  Like most states, Michigan has a Code of Judicial Conduct.

Cannon 1 of the code says that Judges should maintain "high standards of conduct" in order to preserve the Court's dignity.  While Judge McCree appears to be in good shape for a man his age, I doubt the commission is going to think that sending this picture to a bailiff is preserving the Court's dignity.  Mr. Torvik can let us know if using the phrase "hot dog" to the media is dignified.

Canon 2 admonishes judges to  “avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety."  It seems to me that a lot of people send this sort of picture.  So perhaps just sending the picture is not improper.  But when one considers the context of married Judge McCree sending the picture to a married subordinate, then things start to seem improper.

Cannon 3 requires judges to be "dignified and courteous" to court staff.  Unless there is some evidence that the bailiff asked for the picture, I think Judge McCree blew this one.

Finally, perhaps the largest problem for Judge McCree is that this episode demonstrates that the judge lacks the one thing everyone wants from a judge--good judgment.


  1. What a creep. Trying to play it off. Why would you have the bailiffs personal cell number? Why would you do this as a mature adult? We know why.

  2. Is it just me or does he not bear a striking resemblance to Rahm Emanuel? (At least, from the neck down...)

  3. The McCrees may be something like Michigan aristocracy. See, for example,

    Sometimes the scion of such distinguished stock lose get a little cocky?

  4. Thanks for the comments. I agree with Colddirt that sending these sorts of pictures to someone who had not asked for them is a little creepy.

    Bart, I think it is just you.

    Anon, in researching the article I noticed that Judge McCree's father was a respected figure in Michigan. It willl be interesting to see if the judge can rebound from this scandal.


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