Second Phase Of Brennan Hearing Set For Next Week In Detroit
November 12, 2018
A final hearing is set next week in the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission complaint against Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan.
The second phase of the evidentiary hearing will take place next Monday, November 19th in Detroit. JTC Director Lynn Helland says next week’s hearing will examine allegations of persistent failure to treat persons fairly or courteously, making false statements and conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice. That count surrounds the issue of Brennan's cell phone and its contents. The commission claims Brennan knew of a motion to preserve evidence in her pending divorce case yet still requested employees help her erase its contents.
The new accusations were made following an 8-day hearing last month examining misconduct charges against Brennan of abusing her judicial power and failing to disclose personal relationships that constituted clear conflicts of interest. Chief among those was a relationship with former Michigan State Police Detective Sean Furlong, who was the chief prosecution witness in the 2013 murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, over which Brennan presided and resulted in Kowalski’s conviction and life sentence. They claim the affair began after the trial, but testimony and records from Brennan’s 2017 divorce indicated otherwise.
Brennan, who has denied all of the allegations, was removed from her duties in June, one day after the first formal JTC complaint was issued on June 12th. The complaint could lead ultimately lead to her removal from the bench by the Michigan Supreme Court. Brennan is still being paid her annual $135,000 salary, while Livingston County is paying up to $100,000 for her defense. In addition, a visiting judge has been brought in at taxpayer expense to handle her docket.
Meanwhile, Michigan State Police continue to investigate criminal allegations against Brennan including perjury, destroying evidence and obstruction of justice. An impeachment resolution has also been introduced in the state legislature. (JK)