GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Facing an official complaint over his courtroom conduct, Ottawa County District Court Judge Kenneth Post admitted he could have used a "greater degree of constraint" with an attorney he held in contempt, but denied his actions amounted to misconduct.
Michigan's Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint in July against Judge Post for his actions in December 2011 that culminated with attorney Scott Millard handcuffed, shackled and jailed for contempt.
The official complaint against Post accuses him of failure to follow the law, improper demeanor to counsel and trivialization of court proceedings.
In his response filed Aug. 10, Post "...admits that he made a mistake of law in not realizing that Attorney Millard's instruction to his client not to respond in light of the his client's 5th Amendment rights was colorable and therefore that the holding of Attorney Millard in contempt was an abuse of his discretion..."
However, his response continues, that does not violate judicial canons.
Further, "Judge Post admits that his remarks, as directed to Attorney Millard were sarcastic and possibly demeaning, and therefore constituted a 'failure to be patient, dignified, and courteous to lawyers with whom the judge deals in an official capacity,' contrary to the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3A (3) , and that his conduct may have 'eroded public confidence in the judiciary and that he failed to avoid all impropriety,' contrary to the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2A."
The judge denied violating the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution, claiming Millard's client was not "in custody" as defined by law.
In the matter of whether Post violated the Millard's client's 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, Post's attorney wrote the judge "did not violate (the defendant's) right against self-incrimination when he asked him to state when he last used a controlled substance, or even when he insisted upon an answer to his questions.
"Judge Post did not, based on his experience as a prosecutor, think that an affirmative answer could subject a person to a later charge for drug use. Judge Post has read Judge Edward Post's January 16th opinion. He has also conducted independent research and now appreciates that, although unlikely, the answer could potentially lead to an admission that could possibly result in a criminal prosecution. ..."
The next step is in the hands of the Judicial Tenure Commission.
Scott Millard's attorney Josh Blanchard provided 24 Hour News 8 with the following statement regarding Post's response to the JTC:
"I've heard media reports that Judge Post's attorney was saying that he was sorry for his actions. In reviewing Post's response to the Judicial Tenure Commission complaint, it is clear to me that he is only sorry that he was caught. To deny that his remarks were intended to be demeaning to Mr. Millard and to suggest that Mr. Millard misinterpreted the comments is laughable.
"To suggest that Judge Post was simply mistaken, as his attorney does, would suggest that he didn't intend the consequence of his actions. It seems clear to me that his actions were calculated to embarrass, demean, and intimidate Mr. Millard and his client."
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this case.
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