53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan has been removed from the bench effective immediately.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion late Friday and ordered Brennan removed from her current office. She is suspended from holding judicial office for six years; and the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC) ordered to submit an itemized bill of costs, fees, and expenses incurred in prosecuting the complaint. The JTC filed a formal complaint against Brennan alleging 17 counts of judicial misconduct related to both her professional conduct and to her conduct during her divorce proceedings. The panel of justices determined the commission’s findings of fact were supported by the record and its conclusions of law and analysis of the appropriate sanctions were correct.

An opinion states the cumulative effect of Brennan’s misconduct required her removal from office and imposition of a conditional six-year suspension. It says the most severe sanction was particularly warranted because Brennan made false statements under oath, tampered with evidence in her divorce proceeding, and failed to disclose the extent of her relationship with Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong during the double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski. The opinion states Brennan’s argument that the participating members of the commission should have disqualified themselves was without merit.

Howell attorney Thomas Kizer, who represented Brennan’s former husband in their 2016 divorce, tells WHMI he feels her removal from the bench has been “a long time coming”. Kizer went on to say that he feels the Supreme Court acted appropriately and that the JTC made a strong case adding, "She will not be abusing good people that work for this county anymore and she won’t be in our pocketbooks anymore for salary that she hasn’t earned for a long time and unfortunately was receiving for the last year.” Finally Kizer says, “Everybody’s redeemable but she’ll never be redeemable as a judge.”

Brennan has been ordered to pay costs, fees, and expenses in light of what the justices say were intentional misrepresentations and misleading statements that she made in her written responses to the commission and during her testimony at the public hearing. (DK)