Burress Again Seeks Appeal Of Disqualification Order In Brennan Case
December 12, 2018
A former Livingston County judge is again asking for reconsideration of a motion denying the disqualification of an out-of-county judge from presiding over a hearing involving Judge Theresa Brennan.
Former 44th Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress had requested a grand jury to look into Brennan’s alleged misdeeds, which were the subject of a Judicial Tenure Commission complaint and State Police criminal investigation. Livingston County Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh was reported to have asked the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) in June to assign a judge from another county to hear the grand jury request. The case was then assigned to Eaton County Circuit Court Judge John Maurer. Burress filed a motion to disqualify Maurer, stating he had no jurisdiction to hear the case because Cavanaugh’s decision to move it out of the county violated an administrative order that she herself signed just days before.
A hearing in September brought the matter before Maurer, who denied the motion to recuse himself. Burress appealed, but the 44th Circuit Court ruled on November 21st to deny Burress’ motion to disqualify Judge Maurer. That order included a statement from the court, which says Burress alleges that Judge Cavanaugh “acted without legal authority in her decision to request that SCAO appoint a visiting judge.” A joint motion for reconsideration was filed on November 30th, claiming the court’s statement paints a “distorted and inaccurate picture” of Burress’ argument, as he says his petition for disqualification actually alleged that Cavanaugh had requested that SCAO determine whether the case should be assigned to a judge from another county. Burress’ motion claims there is no evidence in the produced record that Cavanaugh made a request for the appointment of a visiting judge.
The motion for reconsideration also states that the court’s order denying Burress’ motion for disqualification was entered without prior notice to the petitioner and without oral argument or opportunity to present the petitioner’s position to the court. Burress’ motion for reconsideration is asking the court to set aside and vacate its order, as well as set the matter for an oral argument. (DK/JK)