Legislators & Commissioners Join Chorus Calling For Judge's Resignation
June 12, 2018
All three state lawmakers that represent Livingston County have called for the resignation of a local judge facing multiple investigations into her conduct.
State Reps. Hank Vaupel of Handy Township and Lana Theis of Brighton Township on Monday jointly announced the need for 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan to resign. Vaupel said a resignation was “necessary to maintain confidence in the judicial system in Livingston County,” and that, “Ongoing issues have long put in doubt Judge Brennan’s ability to serve in this capacity and continue to uphold the public’s trust.” They have since been joined by six Livingston County Commissioners, who issued a letter today calling on the judge to resign.
Brennan is under investigation by both the Michigan State Police and the Judicial Tenure Commission in the wake of an affair with former Michigan State Police detective Sean Furlong who was the chief witness in the 2013 double-murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, over which Brennan presided. Brennan and Furlong maintain the affair took place after the murder trial, but phone records revealed during the judge’s divorce proceedings indicated the two spoke on the phone nearly 40 times between the start of the trial and sentencing.
The legislators say that as a result, Brennan misrepresented the details of the relationship when she was questioned about it under oath, violated professional standards becoming of a judge, and engaged in “egregious misconduct from the bench” while also “misappropriating public resources for personal gain.” Theis said “Brennan should have already stepped down of her own volition, but to have her on the bench over a long, lingering process waiting for federal lawsuits and calls for a grand jury investigation is harmful to the residents who have to deal with her courtroom.” The commissioners; Gary Childs, Bill Green, Don Parker, Bob Bezotte, Doug Helzerman and Dave Domas, said Brennan had embarrassed not only elected officials but also the entire community.
The statements follow a similar call for Brennan’s resignation last week from State Senator Joe Hune of Iosco Township. In addition, retired Judge Daniel Burress recently filed a petition for a special prosecutor to be appointed and citizen’s grand jury to be impaneled to investigate Brennan. If the Judicial Tenure Commission’s investigation reveals wrongdoing by Brennan, a recommendation for sanctions will be made to the Michigan Supreme Court. The court then would decide on a penalty, which could include censure, suspension or removal from office. (JK)