Judicial Tenure Commission pushes to suspend Wayne County judge, the subject of 7 Action News probe
6:15 PM, Dec 10, 2013
6:21 PM, Dec 10, 2013
DETROIT (WXYZ) - A Wayne County judge who was the subject of a 7 Action News investigation is in danger of being taken off the bench.
Today, the eight member Judicial Tenure Commission issued a blistering, 28-page opinion urging that the Michigan Supreme Court move to suspend Judge Bruce Morrow for 90 days.
Citing 7 cases before Morrow over the last several years, the JTC says he violated judicial conduct and sometimes ignored state law. The panel said Morrow closed his courtroom to the public, dismissed a drug case for a defendant who was about to plead guilty and let some convicted criminals out, even though state law said they should be locked up immediately.
In May, our investigation revealed Morrow's decision to continue the bond of a man guilty of armed robbery for weeks, even though he knew he'd spend up to 12 years in prison. Hours later, the man shot and killed Briona Leverett's brother.
"If the judge wouldn't have given him those few days or weeks, we wouldn't be sitting here right now," Briona told 7 Action News. " have a brother that was killed due to him."
When 7 Action News spoke to Morrow in May, he conceded that Leverett's murder could have been prevented. He didn't offer an apology, but did say this:
"The court, myself and my staff...to the Leverett family, we extend our condolences. Because nothing like that should ever, ever happen to anybody. And I don't know what to say other than, that's just what happened. These were the circumstances."
The Michigan Supreme Court's final decision on Morrow's suspension is expected sometime next year.
Calls to Morrow's courtroom today were not answered. During his hearing before the JTC, Morrow's lawyer argued that his client followed the law and was being targeted because of his race.