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Wayne County Judge Bruce Morrow suspended for 6 months without pay

Posted at 7:15 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 07:15:55-05

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Supreme Court has suspended Wayne County Judge Bruce Morrow for six months without pay.

The suspension comes after the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a three-count complaint, alleging Morrow made comments inappropriate comments and used sexually graphic language with two female attorneys.

After the complaint was filed, the Michigan Supreme Court appointed a retired judge as the master, and she found that Morrow violated several Canons.

The JTC then issued a recommendation in June asking for a one-year suspension, but the Supreme Court decided that a 6-month suspension was more appropriate.

In August 2020, the JTC filed the complaint, which stemmed from a trial between June 10-12, 2019 at the 3rd Circuit Court in Downtown Detroit. Morrow has been a judge at the court since 1992.

According to the complaint, Morrow allegedly used inappropriate sexually graphic language toward two Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorneys who are women.

In the first charge, the JTC alleges Morrow gave feedback to one assistant prosecutor while using sex as an example about her direct examination.

Morrow "made an analogy for APA A to the effect 'that the climax of sex is akin to getting the medical examiner to state the cause and manner of death after getting the details of his examination of the body.'"

According to the complaint, Morrow's comments made the assistant prosecutor feel "frozen" and afraid to move.

In another instance, the complaint alleges that Morrow made fun of some testimony in chambers and also used sexual connotations to criticize the other assistant prosecutor's voir dire.

In a Per Curiam opinion from the Supreme Court, the justices wrote, "While respondent’s behavior is certainly unacceptable, we do not believe his inappropriate comments over the course of one trial merit twice the suspension imposed for years of sexual harassment."

Justice David Viviano and Justice Richard Bernstein wrote concurring opinions but said the hearings should be held in-person, and Justice Brian Zahra wrote an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, saying he believed that Morrow should have been suspended for a year.