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Michigan judge may face discipline for inappropriate behavior in child custody case

Last November, we wrote about a particularly contentious Michigan custody case in which a judge had ordered three children to participate in controversial reunification therapy to address parental alienation from their father. As part of that case, the judge had also ordered the children to submit to juvenile detention after they refused to attend parenting time with their estranged father.

Although the mother’s attempt to have the judge in that case removed was denied, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has since found that the judge was guilty of misconduct in the case. According to the special master who made the determination, the judge failed to “establish, maintain, enforce, and personally observe high standards of conduct” to preserve “the integrity and independence of the judiciary.” 

Interested readers can see here for some of the details of the accusations. Essentially, the judge was found to have acted inappropriately toward the children—not the way you would expect a judge to act. At this point, the findings are set to go to the full commission, which will determine whether their accuracy and possibly recommend discipline for the judge.

The case is a reminder, of course, not only of the potential impact contentiousness in child custody proceedings, but also of the need for judges to maintain fairness and professionalism, as well as to exercise sound discretion. Those who are going through a contentious custody case should always work with an experienced and zealous advocate to ensure their rights and interests are well advocated and that the court handling the case is acting within the bounds of its professional duties. 

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Michigan judge may face discipline for inappropriate behavior in child custody case | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC