Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some people do not know when to stop.

When one sees a Detroit Free Press story about a Wayne County, Michigan judge being removed from office, one thinks the story will refer to Judge Wade McCree (see other posts about Judge McCree here, here, here, here, here, and here). But it turns out that Judge McCree is not the only judge in Wayne County to run into problems with the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Michigan Supreme Court ordered that Wayne County Family Circuit Judge Deborah Ross Adams be removed from office for, among other things, lying under oath. The result is somewhat surprising given that Michigan's Judicial Tenure Commission suggested a 180-day suspension.

The punishment stems from Judge Adams's 2011 divorce from Detroit deputy mayor Anthony Adams. During the course of the divorce proceedings, Judge Adams allegedly lied to the judge hearing the case on several occasions and forged her attorney's signature on a court document once the divorce was finalized. Judge Adams allegedly compounded these lies by lying about them once she was confronted about them by the Judicial Tenure Commission.

The opinion and order removing Judge Adams is here. According to opinion, the lies Judge Adams made were denying in a hearing that she had called the office of the judge hearing the case. Note that Judge Adams was making this denial to the judge she had been calling and to the court staff that answered the calls (and told Judge Adams not to call). This might not have been the best situation in which to lie under oath.

The court documents to which Judge Adams signed her former attorney's signature were a motion to modify the divorce judgment, the memorandum supporting the motion, and a notice of hearing. Judge Adams's former attorney was not copied on the filings and did not know they had been made. She apparently found out when counsel Deputy Mayor Adams told her. Judge Adams's claim that she had authority to file the documents on behalf of her former attorney was undone by the fact that she sent an email to the former attorney after filing saying that Judge Adams had tried to get permission but had not been successful in making contact with the attorney.

Given that her lies were easily contradicted, it is hard to see why Judge Adams thought she would be better off repeating these lies to the Judicial Tenure Commission and then to the Michigan Supreme Court. Perhaps Judge Adams figured, in for an inch, in for a mile.

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