Corrupt Judge Sylvia A. James
Sylvia A. James
Michigan 22nd District Court
Sylvia A. James was a judge for the 22nd District Court in Michigan. In August 2012, she was removed from office for the remainder of her term by the Michigan Supreme Court.
James advanced from the primary election on August 7, winning 25.68 percent of the vote. She was defeated by Sabrina Johnson in the general election on November 6, receiving 33.67 percent of the vote.
Bar association ratings
The Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association rated candidates running for judicial office in 2012. Candidates were given one of five ratings: Outstanding, Well Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified or No Rating. James was rated as Not Qualified.
Judge placed on administrative leave
The administrative office of the Michigan Supreme Court place James on administrative leave while it expanded its earlier audit of the court. Since the audit turned up some “questionable spending,” the judge was placed on leave “until further court order.” James had to provide a detailed explanation for certain expenses. Her attorney said that James would soon return to the bench, implying that the audits were just a misunderstanding that would be sorted out.
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Michigan judge suspended by Supreme Court, December 29, 2011
Misconduct allegation hearing
On May 14, 2012, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission held a public hearing on accusations facing James. Retired Judge Ann Mattson was master of the hearing, and was responsible for investigating the allegations. Her report subsequently found that James used part of the court budget for charitable donations around the city, which would amount to a misappropriation of funds.
James’ attorney implied that the allegations were politically motivated, since they were only made after the judge opposed the policies of the mayor. Also, the attorney said that audits conducted by the Michigan Supreme Court never found any wrongdoing with how Judge James was using the court’s funds.
The commission’s executive director and general counsel, Paul Fischer, asked that James be removed from office, banned from ever again serving as a judge, and pay $81,000 in fines.
Following its hearing on the allegations against Judge James, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission released its official complaint against James. Among its conclusions were that James had misappropriated funds, engaged the court in improper banking practices, made intentional misrepresentations, knowingly hired an unqualified magistrate, and violated an anti-nepotism policy by employing her niece. That document can be read here: Judicial Tenure Commission, Former Complaint No. 88.
James removed from bench
On July 31, 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court removed James from office for the remainder of her term which ended December 31.
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Last Updated on 12/30/2021 by Agalychnis Callidryas