Judicial Tenure Committee Files Complaint Against Judge Gorcyca
It was a case discussed all over the country, sweeping through the media like wildfire, and enflaming bloggers and commenters across the nation. The Tsimhoni case. A custody battle so fraught with tension and despair, that the only thing that could possibly have made it worse would be a judge who treated the children caught up in the middle of this battle with derision and scorn. Which is where Judge Lisa Gorcyca comes in.
In a 17-page complaint filed this week by Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission, Judge Gorcyca is accused of violating the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct. But the specific violation in question here is not actually have anything to do with Gorcyca’s behavior in court with regard to the children. The issue is the fact that, when questioned by the Tenure Commision about what had happened, she is said to have lied about it.
When the three Tsimhoni children refused to have contact with their estranged father, Judge Gorcyca was adamant that they had been brainwashed by their mother. She compared the children—aged 9, 10, and 13—to mass murderer Charles Manson’s cult followers, and circling her index finger next to her head, implied that they were crazy.
When the children refused to have lunch with their father, she ordered them into custody at Children’s Village, a detention facility for wayward youth. But when their mother took to the media to reveal what had happened, Gorcyca hurriedly changed the order, and had the children relocated to a summer camp in Ortonville.
But not before the Judicial Tenure Committee heard about it. And quicker than you can blink, Gorcyca found herself up against a wall. This, however, is where it gets ugly. Accused of making the “crazy” motion when addressing the children, Judge Gorcyca denied it and claimed that the circling motion was meant to imply the forward progress they would make in therapy.
When asked about having found the children to be in contempt of court, Gorcyca denied that it had even happened. Unfortunately, however, the Oakland County Courtroom where this took place to begin with had been loaded with media cameras. It’s very hard to deny something that was documented by a number of independent sources.
The complaint against Judge Gorcyca alleges that she ridiculed the three children in open court and significantly exaggerated the punishment she was legally allowed to impose on them for refusing to engage with their father. The complaint also alleges that she had the children handcuffed and led out of court, weeping, while she laughed at them. It also alleges that she lied about these allegations when confronted by JTC investigators.
At this point, it remains to be seen how this will play out. Some have said that Gorcyca would be better off resigning rather than facing the pending hearing, where everything will be made public. Others have said that she only has to wait out the media storm and eventually the attention will peter out and move on to other topics. Some have pointed out the Judicial Tenure Committee’s past intolerance for Judges who lie when confronted with evidence of their own misdeeds. What will happen to Judge Gorcyca? We will all have to wait and see.