Poplin: When judges
need a referee
Give the editor, Kyle Poplin, your opinion about judges and the system that calls for us to elect them. Comment here or call 369-4239 and leave a message. (We’ll transcribe it, and maybe publish it, and you’ll feel better.)
If you’re a longtime reader of The Ann, you might have taken a look at this month’s cover and asked what we’ve got against judges around here.
In the June 2014 issue of The Ann, we presented a comprehensive look at the state of the Washtenaw County courts and judiciary. After interviewing judges, court officials, legal scholars and several local attorneys, our story painted “a portrait of a troubled courthouse guided by an aloof judicial leadership that is functionally accountable to no one.”
That led to us wondering aloud, in our August 2014 issue, if Michigan shouldn’t should stop electing judges and start seating them by appointment. It was a fair question at the time and now, after this month’s lead story, it seems even more on point.
Steve Friess and Jim McBee combine inside this issue to tell of still more dysfunction at the black-robe level: judges mad at each other, holding grudges, alleging racism, getting into mischief and otherwise behaving in un-judge-like ways.
It’s not that we love writing about judges, it’s just that local judges give us so much to write about.
Our August 2014 issue drew an avalanche of response, both from those who thought we were wrong to call the courthouse “troubled” and those who said we didn’t go far enough, that there was plenty more dirt to dig up. Well, this month, it’s one of the judges, Cedric Simpson, digging up dirt.
Has he gone far enough? Too far? Should he be above the drama? How would you feel about going before a judge now, after hearing these lurid tales? Let us know.
black robes on the ropes