On day one of her hearing before the Judicial Tenure Commission, Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan found out her fight to save her job will be even more difficult.
New allegations of destroying evidence and obstruction of justice are going to be added. The hearing will now be in two parts, this month and next to cover all the evidence.
Today the hearing centered on allegations of misconduct, not disqualifying herself in cases she had personal relations, a murder case, and her own divorce.
Judge Brennan remains off the bench on a paid leave.
In the murder case of Jerome Kowalski, Judge Brennan is accused of having an affair with the lead investigator in the case, State Police Detective Sean Furlong. The trial was in Brennan’s court. Kowalski is doing life without parole.
That only came up briefly today, and Judge Brennan said, “It was a social relationship.”
Brennan was separated from her husband for three years when he filed for divorce in December of 2016.
It was assigned to Judge Brennan and, according to the JTC, she didn’t qualify herself for six days, even when it was brought to her by other court personnel.
Judge William Giovan sitting as Master in the hearing pressed for answers with Brennan on the witness stand, saying, “Why you didn’t sign it when she brought it to you?”
Brennan replied in tears, “Judge, I would have to give you such a history of why I was such a mess. It was stupid. I just should have signed it.”
Judge Giovan continued, “Well, stupid or not, what was the motivation for not signing it?”
Brennan replied, “There was no motivation. I was not acting in a rational manner.”
The son of the man convicted of murder was at the hearing.
Jared Kowalski wants a new trial for his dad saying, “I don’t believe her tears. Because I saw how she conducted herself in court.”
Brennan also said on the stand, “I was a basket case. And that’s an understatement.”
But the JTC attorney played a video from her court that same morning that showed her working business as usual.
Brennan replied after that, “I don’t look distraught there. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t.”
This part of the hearing could go for two weeks, and then it will resume in November with the evidence behind the new allegations.