Wade Harper McCree

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This page is about the Michigan circuit court judge. If you are looking for information on the former federal judge of the Sixth Circuit, please see Wade Hampton McCree, Jr.


Wade Harper McCree
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Current Court Information:
3rd Circuit Court, Michigan
Title:   Former judge
Service:
Appointed by:   Gov. Jennifer Granholm
Active:   2004-2014
Preceded by:   Pamela Harwood
Past post:   Michigan 36th District Court Judge
Past term:   1996-2004
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Michigan, 1978
Law School:   Stanford Law School, 1984
Wade Harper McCree was a judge of the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County, Michigan. He was appointed to this position by Governor Jennifer Granholm on June 25, 2004, to replace retired Judge Pamela Harwood.[1] He was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2008.[2]

In May 2013, McCree was suspended without pay upon the recommendation of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission that he be removed from office.[3] The Michigan Supreme Court officially removed him from the bench on March 26, 2014.[4][5][6]

Education

McCree received his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1978 and his J.D. degree from Stanford Law School in 1984.[1]

Career

After graduating from law school, McCree began his career working for the Detroit Law Department. He then joined the law firm of Lewis, White & Munday, P.C. in 1987. He was appointed to the 36th District Court of Michigan in 1996. He served there until he was appointed to the circuit court in 2004.[1]

Personal

McCree is the son of the late federal judge Wade Hampton McCree, Jr.[7]

In the news

Complaint filed by the Judicial Tenure Commission (2013)

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint against Judge McCree on March 12, 2013. The complaint centered around the judge's sexual relationship with Geniene LaShay Mott, who came before his court in a case against Robert King, who owed her child support. According to the complaint, the sexual acts "took place at various locations, including in [the judge's] judicial chambers."[8] Mott and McCree also reportedly discussed details of Mott's case together on multiple occasions. McCree did not disqualify himself from or transfer Mott's case to another judge until September 18, 2012.[8]

McCree, in June of 2012, sent an email to Mott and warned her,

[Y]ou are the complaining witness on a case that is before me. Naturally if it got out that we were seeing each other before your B.D.’s case closed, everybody could be in deep s***.[8][9]

In November 2012, Mott told McCree that she was pregnant with his child. McCree reported Mott to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for stalking and extortion. During the investigation, he provided false information about his relationship with Mott to the prosecutor's office. This led to the second count against him by the commission for "false report of a felony".[8]

The third count against McCree was for improper conduct in the case of People v. Tillman. Damone Tillman, the defendant in the case, was Mott's cousin. McCree signed an Order for Reduction of Bond off-record, based on his ex parte communications with Mott.[8]

Count four against McCree involved indecent text messages sent to Mott, which he sent while on the bench.[8]

Count five against McCree was for "misrepresentations to the commission," due to his claims that he ended the relationship with Mott on October 31, 2012, and that the only reason he kept the affair confidential was so that his wife and family would not find out. The commission recovered text messages that contradicted both claims.[8]

McCree was placed on unpaid suspension, and faced removal from his judicial position.[10]

Report issued following misconduct hearing

A hearing was held in May 2013 regarding the accusations. Retired Jackson County Judge Charles Nelson submitted his report, on June 23, 2013, to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. The report served as the basis for the commission's recommendations as to how the matter was to be handled by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Among his findings, Nelson determined McCree lied when he testified that his failure to recuse himself from the child custody case involving Mott was an oversight. Nelson also determined McCree lied during other testimony at the hearing. In the report, Nelson indicated

. . .the events. . .show a pattern of lies and deception by McCree in his dealings with Mott.[11][9]

Brian Eihorn, McCree's attorney, expressed disappointment over parts of the report.

Judge Nelson felt Wade McCree not recusing himself was a bad act and a bad move- a statement we agreed with.[9]
However, Nelson also found McCree's claims that Mott was stalking him were not credible. Eihorn stated his client was merely being candid about events that took place.[11]

Einhorn said he suspected the commission would recommend McCree's removal from the bench, but indicated he did not think such action was warranted in this matter.[11]

Decision and recommendation issued by Judicial Tenure Commission

WXVZ Detroit: Judge McCree hearing underway
WXVZ Detroit: McCree hearing wraps up

Following a formal hearing before the commission, a recommendation was made to the Michigan Supreme Court that McCree be removed from the bench before his current term expires. The commission also recommended if McCree wins re-election, he should be conditionally suspended without pay for six years, beginning on January 1, 2015. McCree was also ordered to pay court costs of $11,945.17.

In the decision, the commission noted:

[McCree's] conduct affected not only the litigants in the King and Tillman cases, but harmed the integrity of the judicial system as a whole. . .[3][9]

The supreme court heard arguments in the case in December 2013, but did not issue a decision.[12]

McCree seeking re-election

A Wayne County Circuit Court judge who sent a text with shirtless photos of himself to a female subordinate, had a months-long affair with a plaintiff in a case he presided over and spent the past year suspended without pay for his conduct, is running to keep his seat.[13]

McCree was awaiting a decision from the Michigan Supreme Court regarding his potential removal from his office. The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission recommended McCree’s removal from the bench in September of last year, asking that he be suspended for six years, in case he is re-elected to another six-year term.[14] Despite his censure, McCree filed to run for another term beginning in 2015.[15]

The details of McCree’s alleged conduct are nothing short of sensational. In 2012, a reporter confronted the 55-year-old with the half-nude photo of himself that he had texted to a bailiff in his court. “Hot dog,” McCree responded brazenly, without any apparent embarrassment. “There’s no shame in my game.”[16] The primary issue the Michigan high court is considering, however, is the affair he conducted with 30-year-old Geniene La’Shay Mott over the course of several months in 2012. According to the commission’s ruling, McCree, who is married, began a relationship with Mott after she appeared in his court pursuing child-support payments from her ex-boyfriend. McCree did not excuse himself and continued to handle the case.[17]

McCree is accused of carrying on the affair with Mott in his courtroom office, where they engaged in intercourse and to which Mott was given special access. According to the ruling, McCree occasionally allowed Mott to remain in his chambers while he was on the bench, even exchanging lurid text messages with her while he was working.[18]

McCree is the son of noted former judge, Wade Hampton McCree, Jr., who was the first African American appointed to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was also the second African American solicitor general in United States history.[17]

Removed from office

The Michigan Supreme Court accepted the recommendation of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission on March 26, 2014, and removed McCree from office. The court ruled:

Indeed, there is not much, if anything, that is more prejudicial to the actual administration of justice than having a sexual relationship with a complaining witness without recusing oneself, engaging in ex parte communications with this mistress/complaining witness, attempting to use the prosecutor’s office as leverage against this now ex-mistress by concocting charges of stalking and extortion against her, and then lying under oath about these matters.[9]

—Michigan Supreme Court opinion[6]

McCree was also fined almost $12,000. If he had been elected in 2014, he would have faced an unpaid suspension for the full six-year term. The court's opinion also noted that since McCree was no longer a judge, he was unable to run as an incumbent during the 2014 election.[19]

McCree protected from lawsuit

Though McCree was involved in an affair with a woman while hearing her child custody case, he cannot be sued by the child's father, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled on July 21, 2014. The doctrine of "judicial immunity" protects judges from being sued by those who appear in their courtrooms. Though federal court's opinion made it clear that they did not endorse McCree's actions, however.[20]

Supreme court censure (2012)

In October 2012, McCree was censured by the Michigan Supreme Court for sending a shirtless picture of himself to a female court employee. In April, McCree admitted that he made a mistake. The high court accepted the recommendation of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, and McCree accepted the censure.[21]

See also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Michigan.gov, "Governor Granholm Appoints 36th District Judge Wade McCree to 3rd Circuit Court," June 25, 2004
  2. List of Michigan Circuit Courts
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, "Press Releases, Commission issues Decision and Recommendation as to Hon. Wade H. McCree, 3rd Circuit Court," September 9, 2013
  4. Michigan Chronicle, "Judge Wade McCree running for re-election," March 11, 2014
  5. Michigan 2006 Election Results: 3rd Circuit Court Incumbents
  6. 6.0 6.1 Detroit Free Press, "Wayne County Judge Wade McCree removed in wake of affair, courtroom scandal," March 27, 2014
  7. New York Times: Obituaries, "Wade H. McCree Jr. Dies at 67; Was Judge and Solicitor General," September 1, 1987
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, "Formal Complaint No. 93," March 12, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  10. MSN, "Michigan judge suspended for sexting with a witness," March 30, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 SF Gate.com, "Judge: There's 'shame' in Michigan judge's game," June 24, 2013
  12. MLive, "Fate of Judge Wade McCree's career rests with Michigan Supreme Court," December 11, 2013
  13. Michigan Chronicle, "Judge Wade McCree Running For Re-election," March 11, 2014
  14. Detroit Free Press, "Board recommends removal of Judge McCree, 6-year suspension if he is re-elected," September 9, 2013
  15. Kentucky.com, "Disgraced Wayne County judge wants 6 more years," March 11, 2014
  16. My Fox Detroit.com, "The strange testimony of Judge Wade McCree," May 23, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 News One.com, "Michigan Supreme Court Decides On ‘Freak’ Judge Wade McCree’s Fate," December 13, 2013
  18. News One.com, "Judicial Tenure Committee: Suspend Freak Judge Wade McCree," September 10, 2013
  19. State of Michigan Supreme Court, "Opinion, In re WADE H. McCREE, Judge, Wayne Circuit Court, No. 146826," March 26, 2014
  20. Detroit Free Press, "6th Circuit Court: Ex-Judge Wade McCree's conduct 'reprehensible' but immune from lawsuit," July 22, 2014
  21. KNOE.com, "Detroit judge reprimanded for shirtless cell photo," October 24, 2012
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