Judicial Commission Urges Suspension of Judge for Child Custody Trial Misconduct

November 28, 2016

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission is calling for a 30-day unpaid suspension of Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca for her misconduct in a child custody case.

The Tenure Commission, a seven-member team, asked for the public censure and suspension of Judge Gorcyca by taking the recommendation to the Michigan Supreme Court. The court can either accept or reject the plea before they decide to implement a punishment or not.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Gorcyca and her lawyer, Thomas Cranmer, declined to comment, although Cranmer stated earlier in the year that he and Gorcyca would fight a misconduct finding if necessary.

In July, the Tenure Commission found Gorcyca guilty of misconduct for the case incoming three Bloomfield Hills children, ages 14, 11, and 9. Gorcyca allegedly overstepped her authority by sending these three children to Children’s Village, which is usually reserved for abused children. The three kids were sent the Children’s Village for two weeks before Gorcyca had them transferred to a summer camp.

When custody is shared, both child’s parents are required to have a minimum of 128 overnight visits with the child. Some camps, like Children’s Village, might not make it that feasible for parents to visit their children and for children to thrive.

“There is no evidence that Judge Gorcyca violated the rules of judicial conduct,” Cranmer said to the Tenure Commission. “This is a one-time occurrence. If we’re going to judge judges by their worst day, you folks are going to be awfully busy.”

Glenn Page, the Tenure Commission’s interim executive director and the prosecutor against Gorcyca, believed that the judge’s emotions came too strongly into play and punished the children rather than the involved parents.

“I don’t believe you can look at the video of that June 24 hearing and say this is acceptable behavior by a judge,” Page rebutted. “That a judge can treat children in this manner.”

The Detroit News reports that Gorcyca’s actions resulted in an international outcry on social media as the arguments heated up over the rights of children involved in serious divorce proceedings.

Gorcyca, who was elected to the bench in 2008, has the opportunity to appeal directly to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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