Retired judge wants Citizens Grand Jury to weigh criminal charges in Brennan case

Posted at 5:06 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 19:15:56-04

Retired Judge Daniel Burress says the citizens should decide if criminal charges will be issued against Judge Theresa Brennan in Livingston County.

Judge Burress is only talking with 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner. 

Judge Burress says he petitioned for a Citizens Grand Jury because everyone else in the system failed to take action including the Prosecutor, State Police, State Attorney General and the Judicial Tenure Commission. 

“This is the exact case made for a Citizens Grand Jury. And I think the people of this county deserve to have their say through the Citizens Grand Jury,” Judge Burress said. 

He also said he took action to restore public confidence in the system in Livingston County. 

“The reputation of this county and this judicial system was being trashed,” Burress said.

The allegations Judge Theresa Brennan was having an affair with State Police Detective Sean Furlong surfaced a year and a half ago. 

Furlong was the lead detective in a murder case in which Jerome Kowalski was convicted and is doing life in prison. 

Judge Brennan presided over the trial and said at the time that she and Furlong were only friends. They were later implicated through hundreds of cell phone calls they had made to each other before, during and after the trial.

The Judicial Tenure Commission issued a complaint against Judge Brennan only after Judge Burress petitioned for the Citizens Grand Jury. The JTC can only suspend or remove the judge. They can’t issue criminal charges. 

In May of last year, the State Police raided Judge Brennan’s office and home and took her computers. 

“That’s sealed and secret. I’d love to get access to it,” Judge Burress said.

Judge Burress says State Attorney General Bill Schuette should have acted months ago as he did in the Michigan State Larry Nassar investigation. 

“I don’t want to get into the politics of it, but I think a special prosecutor should have been appointed in this case a long time ago,” Burress said.

In Livingston County, one judge granted the Citizens Grand Jury but the Chief Judge 5 days later stepped in disqualifying all local judges. 

Judge Burress has taken it up to the Court of Appeals. He had his first case up there in the 1960s. 

“That’s a classic case of high-level judge shopping. That’s all I can say about it,” Judge Burress said. 

Judge Brennan is off the bench but is still getting paid. She’s been going into the clerk’s office reading the file but has not responded. 

The Prosecutor said he’s still reviewing a new trial for Kowalski. 

State Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement last week he’s still reviewing the case with the State Police.