DETROIT (WOOD) - The examiner for the Judicial Tenure Commission wants Ottawa County Judge Kenneth Post suspended without pay for 90 days for finding a defendant's lawyer in contempt and jailing him in December 2011.
But Post's attorney said the judge should only receive a reprimand.
The case began when attorney Scott Millard was defending a client on a charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol. Judge Post asked the defendant if he would be "clean or dirty" if he took a drug test.
Millard advised his client not to answer the question.
Over the next several minutes, the situation between Judge Post and attorney Millard escalated, and Millard was found in contempt, handcuffed and taken to jail.
A month later, an Ottawa County circuit court judge overturned Post's ruling that held Millard in contempt of court for advising his client to exercise his right to remain silent.
Six months later, Michigan's Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint against Judge Post for his actions regarding Millard.
Monday, the Judicial Tenure Commission is hearing the case against Post
"This was not a mistake of law. He knew what he was doing," said Paul Fischer, the JTC examiner making the case against Judge Post. "If anyone, he (Post) should have known better....it was a game of bullying."
Fischer said Millard acted "nobly" in defending his client.
"There was no law in that courtroom that day except Judge Post's law," said Fischer. "He still doesn't understand what he did wrong. (Millard) knew the law better than he did."
Fischer wants Post suspended without pay for 90 days.
But Post's attorney, Brian Einhorn, said a judge has an obligation to control the courtroom.
"What is a judge supposed to do when an objection is made and the judge thinks the objection is not appropriate?" Einhorn argued. "(Post) didn't scream and yell and carry on. There's nothing in the transcript" that shows the judge "relished" in humiliating Millard.
"We acknowledge the tone of the conversation shouldn't have been that tone, but that's it," he said. "This is a one shot thing on a one shot day that shouldn't have happened."
The judge's actions should merit nothing more than a reprimand, he said, adding Post "didn't violate his contempt power."
The hearing ended in the late morning and no decision was made. No timeframe for their decision was announced.
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