(WXYZ) - Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow is known by some inside his courtroom as "Cut ‘em loose Bruce," a nickname started by those who think he's too easy on accused criminals.
Now, it's Morrow asking for leniency at his hearings before the Judicial Tenure Commission begin.
Today's first witness was retired Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Caminsky, who said Morrow "seemed to have some personal animus towards me."
Caminsky said Judge Morrow improperly closed the courtroom in the high-profile murder case of Jean Pierre Orlewicz, after he'd been convicted of killing 26-year-old Daniel Sorenson.
When a hearing was held to ask for a new trial, Judge Morrow barred Channel 7 from attending. But then he went further. Even though the defendant didn't ask for it, Morrow closed the courtroom to the public, and the victim's family.
"We saw no reason to close the courtroom," Caminsky said. "There didn't seem to be a compelling reason to do so."
Ultimately, Morrow was overturned by the court of appeals. Today, his lawyer said that the judge is only facing discipline because he's black.
"Judge Morrow has indeed been targeted," said Donald Campbell.
Morrow is also accused of letting out criminals he shouldn't have, like a man convicted of criminal sexual conduct, and another convicted of drunk driving for the third time.
Morrow denies all wrongdoing.
Last month, Morrow was the subject of a 7 Action News Investigation for choosing to continue the bond of Demetrius Edwards , even after he was convicted of armed robbery and knew he would spend years in prison.
Hours after his release, prosecutors say, Edwards would gun down husband and father Cedell Leverett.
The JTC hearings are expected to last into next week.
Contact Investigator Ross Jones at email@example.com or at (248) 827-9466.