Roughly ten months after allegations surfaced of unethical and potentially criminal actions, the Judicial Tenure Commission has confirmed an investigation of 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan is being conducted.

Howell Attorney Tom Kizer recently issued a letter to the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office concerning allegations against Brennan, asking why she remains on the bench and is not being held accountable for her actions. The letter prompted a response from the Judicial Tenure Commission, which had previously not confirmed or denied the existence of any investigation.

Executive Director Lynn Helland says although Michigan court rules forbid the Commission to respond to questions about investigations, those rules contain an exception when a majority concludes it is in the public interest to acknowledge that an investigation is pending. He says the Commission determined that in light of Kizer’s letter and all of the circumstances, it is in the public interest to acknowledge an investigation is occurring. Helland says the process is designed to ensure the Commission can investigate without destroying reputations unnecessarily. He says they take that process very seriously and they take the public interest very seriously, but their investigations sometimes can be lengthy to ensure there is due process. Helland did tell WHMI that it is very rare the Commission thinks it’s in the public interest to disclose an investigation.

In response to confirmation of an investigation, Attorney Kizer told WHMI "The fact that they acknowledge they are investigating the allegations means nothing at this point. It is past time to do something. It the JTC ever decides to really address the behavior with some real action other than to patronize us hoping we will go away quietly, I will be pleasantly "shocked". We are clearly at their mercy." (JM)