(WXYZ) - The State Judicial Tenure Commission today issued a complaint against a judge of the third circuit in Detroit.
The 21 page document sites ten cases over the years where Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow allegedly ignored the rules of procedure of law. Included in the complaint; one horrific murder case stands out.
After the first degree murder conviction of Jean Pierre Orlewicz for the 2007 killing and dismembering of Daniel Sorensen, Judge Morrow was set to hear arguments for a new trial.
But not only did he close the courtroom to the media and the public, he also locked out the parents of the murder victim. Assistant prosecuting attorney Jeffrey Caminsky says “the Sorensen’s were very composed and respectful of the process, but weren’t pleased by the judge’s decision.”
"We were upset and angry", Jim Sorenson tells 7 Action News. " My wife and I were planning on hearing the testimony, the judge said we didn't belong there." Sorenson, the dad of the victim Daniel Sorenson says although it has been several years, "we still wake up some mornings and think it is a nightmare, we have done the best we can to deal with it and try to move on but there is never really closure."
Caminsky remembers it as one of the more bizarre appeals cases of his three decade long career. The judge not only denied access required under the constitution, but failed to create a record of the proceeding.
The defense and the prosecution had to go to court to fight for transcripts that should have been routinely provided to both sides.
The JTC sites similar misconduct in nine other felony cases saying “Respondent (Judge Morrow) has engaged in conduct that demonstrates a lack of impartiality, failure to follow the law, an abuse of judicial power, and violations of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct."
Now retired, former prosecutor Caminski looks forward to the Morrow hearing as he expects to be called to testify when, and if a special “master” - usually a retired judge - hears the JTC case against Morrow.
Judge Morrow now has 14 days to file an answer to the JTC complaint.
His attorney tells 7 Action News Morrow is very disappointed in the complaint but believes the evidence will show Morrow is quote “a great judge” and has served the public well. He also points out that the JTC complaint only looks at a handful of cases, but that his client has handled tens of thousands of cases since 1993 and these issues should be raised in the appeals court and not by the JTC.
Jim Sorenson says he believes a reprimand would not be enough, he says he believes Judge Morrow should be "suspended from the bench."
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