Resolution To Impeach Judge Brennan Pending In Lame Duck Legislature
December 19, 2018
While 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan awaits a court hearing following her arraignment Tuesday on felony charges, a resolution introduced by local lawmakers calling for her impeachment has yet to make to the House floor during the lame duck session.
Republican State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township is the primary sponsor of House Resolution 399, which was referred in September to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. It has multiple co-sponsors and describes different things that have been done that would warrant a judge being impeached. The bill has not yet made it to the floor and remains in Committee but House of Representatives Communications Director Gideon D’Assandro tells WHMI that Theis has not given up and wants to move forward with the impeachment process.
Judge Brennan’s caseload was removed and reassigned to a visiting judge months ago but she continues to collect a paycheck at the expense of taxpayers. Theis has said if Brennan won’t resign, then it’s time for the House to move forward with the impeachment process. D’Assandro affirms that remains Theis’ priority. If the bill doesn’t make it to the House floor by the time the lame duck legislature is anticipated to adjourn on Thursday, then the bill will have to be taken up next year. That could potentially happen in the Senate, as Theis was elected in November to the seat vacated by term-limited Senator Joe Hune of the Fowlerville area. Theis earlier stated that if the House Judiciary Committee supports the impeachment resolution, it will go before the full House, where only a simple majority is needed to advance it to the Senate for an impeachment trial. If convicted, Brennan would then be removed from office. The trial, however, could not occur until after the Senate’s final session adjourns.
Theis and other lawmakers took action to potentially pursue impeachment while investigations were being conducted by the Judicial Tenure Commission and Michigan State Police, as many felt they were not moving fast enough. However, in the meantime, a three-count felony indictment was filed by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office alleging perjury, misconduct in office and that she lied about destroying evidence from a cell phone during a deposition in her divorce case. Brennan was arraigned on those counts Tuesday. A probable cause conference is set for January 16th.
Further, Brennan is awaiting the results of a Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission hearing alleging unethical acts that could result in her being removed from the bench. That investigation was launched in the wake of an affair with Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who was the chief prosecution witness in the 2013 double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, which Brennan presided over. Kowalski is currently serving life in prison. (JM/JK)