INKSTER, Mich. (WXYZ) - It was an administrative leave, but now Judge Sylvia James has been officially suspended with pay from her position as Chief Judge of the 22 nd District Court, pending a soon to be scheduled JTC hearing. The State Supreme Court today ordered Inkster's Judge James' to remain off the bench, but she will continue to receive compensation as she has since an interim judge took her place in April on orders of the court. An Action News Investigation set a JTC investigation in motion, and lead to the complaint against James.
There are three important elements to Thursday's supreme court order. Late Thursday afternoon the State Supreme Court asked that formal complaint number 88 be expedited that the JTC executive director and the just-appointed special master get together quickly to schedule the hearing and that Judge James pay be continued pending the completion of the process.
The Supreme Court has asked Judge Ann Mattson, retired from the 15 th district court in Washtenaw County to act as the special master. Judge Mattson has been filling in for vacationing jurists in that district. Meantime, Judge Sylvia James, who for more than 22 years has been Chief Judge of Inkster's 22 nd District Court, has been on paid leave since April when an initial audit of the courts books left the examiners with specific concerns.
That lead to a broader examination of several years of court operations and a 192 item complaint that James has answered, but details of which will now be heard in a formal examination of the allegations.
Had her pay been stopped, it would have been an historic order from the Supreme Court. Two suspensions without pay in the past were for judges who had been convicted of crimes prior to a resolution of JTC proceedings. In the the third case, the judge had admitted failing to perform the duties of the office. We'll let you know when the hearing for Judge James is convened and the outcome.