Prosecutor: Murder Convictions Under Review After Complaint Against Judge Brennan
June 13, 2018
Livingston County’s prosecutor is reviewing the conviction of a man in a double murder trial after a complaint was filed against an embattled judge.
Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt says in light of the Judicial Tenure Commission’s public complaint filed Tuesday against 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan, the 2013 murder conviction of Jerome Kowalski is being re-examined. The 66-page complaint alleges various counts involving Brennan’s failure to disclose/disqualify herself from cases, stating her actions constitute a pattern of improper conduct in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
The complaint states Brennan did not disclose the full extent and nature of her relationship with former State Police detective Sean Furlong during Kowalski’s trial, over which she presided and which resulted in his conviction and life sentence. Furlong was the chief witness for the prosecution as he took Kowalski’s confession, which was later disputed as being coerced. Testimony during Brennan’s divorce indicated the pair had been involved in a sexual affair before, during and after the trial. They claim it only began after the trial. However, the JTC complaint alleges multiple examples of inappropriate contact between the two that contradict that claim.
Vailliencourt says they are reviewing the details of the complaint and will be in contact with representatives of Kowalski to determine the next steps regarding his convictions. Vailliencourt says the complaint sets forth a course of behavior by Brennan that is both outrageous and unacceptable, adding they will take the appropriate action to ensure that justice is done in the criminal case. Ultimately, he says the Michigan Supreme Court is the only entity with the authority to suspend or remove a sitting judge. (JM/JK)