8.1.08: What they’re saying …

“This is not the proverbial file in the birthday cake.”

– Attorney Jon Muth, quoted in the Grand Rapids Press.

Muth was responding to speculation that lots of criminals would have a shot at freedom if the Judicial Tenure Commission decides, and the Michigan Supreme Court concurs, that his client, 63rd District Court Judge Steven Servaas, vacated his office by moving out of his elected district and later moving back into it. The theory is that any case Servaas heard while he allegedly vacated his office would be invalid. JTC Executive Director Paul Fischer, apparently wanting to have it both ways, suggested that the MSC could name Servaas as a visiting judge for the cases in question even if he is removed from the bench.

“I believe that this is one of the dirtiest of political tricks I’ve ever seen. It’s a dirty election-eve tactic, especially one that has no merit, no substance.”

– 38th District Court Judge Norene Redmond, quoted in The Detroit News.

With a hotly contested primary election just a few days away (five challengers seek to replace Redmond), news surfaced earlier this week that Eastpointe Police Chief Michael Lauretti and Macomb Prosecutor Eric Smith complained to the Judicial Tenure Commission about the judge’s courtroom behavior. Lauretti and Smith say they filed their paperwork “months ago.” The Michigan Supreme Court censured Redmond in February for several instances of unprofessional conduct. Lauretti and Smith allege that Redmond allegedly “humiliated” an assistant prosecutor and a police detective during a March 4 hearing.

“I was the only judicial candidate with permission to have signs there, and I was acting on orders from the property owner.”

– 52-2 District Court Judge Dana Fortinberry, quoted in The Detroit Free Press.

Fortinberry was explaining why she was captured on camera yanking up campaign signs for her opponent, Joseph Fabrizio, on some property near the courthouse. As it turns out, they both may have been in the wrong. According to the Free Press, the signs for Fortinberry and Fabrizio appeared to be in the public easement alongside the road, which would violate an Independence Township ordinance.

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