Judge Won't Face New Charges For Misconduct In Murder Trial
A Michigan judge won't face any additional criminal charges after being found to have concealed a relationship with a detective involved in a murder trial she presided over.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday declined a last-minute plea to charge Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan with crimes involving concealing the relationship, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported.
The decision comes after the attorney general's office filed charges last month against Brennan for allegations she committed perjury and destroyed evidence in her divorce case.
Attorney Tom Kizer, who represented Brennan's husband in the divorce, had sent a letter to the attorney general pressing for action against Brennan for hiding her relationship with former Detective Sgt. Sean Furlong.
"People such as Judge Brennan and Det. Furlong with powerful positions and/or connections should not get a free pass," Kizer said. "The evidence is overwhelming."
The statute of limitations in the case expired Friday, exactly six years after Brennan denied a pre-trial motion to disqualify herself from handling the 2013 murder trial, Kizer said.
Nessel's spokeswoman, Beth Nurenberg, said the attorney general didn't plan to file any new charges against Brennan or Furlong.
Their relationship was brought to light last month after a retired judge appointed to oversee misconduct complaints found Brennan in violation of the state's code of conduct for judges and campaign finance rules.
The Judicial Tenure Commission brought the misconduct complaint against Brennan, and retired judge William Giovan conducted a lengthy hearing on the evidence. Giovan called Brennan's concealment of the relationship a "gross misconduct."
After Giovan's report was released, Livingston County's prosecutor announced he will seek an order to vacate the convictions of Jerome Kowalski and grant him a new trial.
Brennan's next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16.