The long-awaited hearing on charges of misconduct will begin today against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan.

The complaint filed by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission alleges Brennan has committed perjury, failed to disqualify herself from cases in which she had a clear conflict of interest and routinely used employees under her supervision to perform personal tasks for her during working hours, including spending county time working on her campaign. Brennan was removed from her caseload in June by Livingston County Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh, but is still being paid.

The hearing, which is being held in front of a retired judge serving as a Special Master in the case, will start this morning at 9:30 in 16th District Court in Livonia. That court was chosen as a neutral site to hear the case, which is expected to take up to six days. Once it is completed, the Special Master will render an opinion to the Judicial Tenure Commission, which will then decide whether to forward on a recommendation to the Michigan Supreme Court for discipline that could potentially include removing Brennan from the bench.

The main issue in the complaint is Brennan’s relationship with former State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who served as the chief prosecution witness in the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, who was convicted and sentenced to life by Brennan. They insist the relationship began after the trial, but documents from Brennan’s 2017 divorce indicate it began long beforehand.

Brennan is also the subject of several lawsuits, one filed by Livingston County for her alleged use of employees for personals tasks and the other by a former court administrator who claims Brennan retaliated against her for testifying in Brennan’s divorce proceedings. (JK)