The Michigan Supreme Court recently ordered the removal of Judge James Justin from the bench. Judge Justin sat in the 12th District Court in Jackson, Michigan. That court hears landlord tenant cases, civil suits with a value of $25,000 or less, small claims, misdemeanor criminal cases, the initial stages of felony criminal cases, and traffic citation cases.
Judge participated in multiple illegal acts
Before Judge Justin’s case got to the Michigan Supreme Court, a hearing was held with the Judicial Tenure Commission, which is the governing body that regulates judicial conduct in Michigan. At that hearing, it was determined beyond a preponderance of the evidence that this judge participated in multiple illegal and unethical acts. For example, Judge Justin allegedly dismissed traffic tickets for himself, his wife, and his staff without any notification to the Prosecuting attorney assigned to the case. This is an improper ex-parte communication, and judges are well aware that they cannot ethically do this. Judge Justin also allegedly reduced the sentences of people who had already accepted a plea agreement without notifying the Prosecutor. Worse yet, Judge Justin allegedly lied under oath at the Judicial Tenure Commission hearing. The Michigan Supreme Court justices agreed that Judge Justin’s widespread unethical conduct is incompatible with the standards we hold our judges to, and they ordered his immediate removal from office.