DETROIT (AP) — A judge had an affair with a woman who had a child-support case pending in his court, often escorting her through a back door at the Detroit courthouse for trysts in his office, a state agency said Tuesday in a 20-page misconduct complaint.
It is the second time that Wayne County Judge Wade McCree has been investigated by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. The state Supreme Court reprimanded him last year after he sent a shirtless photo of himself to a female court employee, an incident that earned him the nickname “buff barrister” in media reports.
Geniene La’Shay Mott disclosed an affair with McCree in a TV interview in December and said she was pregnant with his child. He was immediately placed on leave and then suspended without pay in February.
McCree, 56, is in hot water for more than the relationship. The Judicial Tenure Commission said he lied during the agency’s ethics investigation and falsely reported to prosecutors that Mott was stalking him. The judge is also accused of disparaging criminal defendants, telling Mott that his court was full of overweight people with tattoos and gap teeth.
McCree committed “irresponsible or improper conduct, which erodes public confidence in the judiciary,” the commission said.
McCree likely will face a hearing in the weeks ahead and could ultimately be removed from office by the Supreme Court. His attorney, Brian Einhorn, said the judge shouldn’t lose his job.
“We’ve acknowledged it was improper conduct, and he should be sanctioned for it,” Einhorn said of the Mott matter. “It’s the appearance of impropriety that is improper. It’s his failure to recuse himself, which he should have done. Why he didn’t do it, he doesn’t understand either.”
The complaint states that McCree met Mott last year when she appeared in his court in a child-support case involving Robert King, the father of her child. The commission said he gave her his business card and asked that she contact him.
That began a six-month relationship, including sex in McCree’s office and other locations, the complaint says.
Mott and McCree repeatedly talked about how to punish King for owing child support, according to the commission. McCree placed King on electronic tether in August before the case was transferred to another judge a month later Einhorn said McCree didn’t obstruct justice.
“He didn’t send (King) to jail. His decision in this case was totally consistent with his decisions in like cases,” Einhorn said.
McCree’s late father, Wade McCree Jr., argued cases at the U.S. Supreme Court as solicitor general under President Jimmy Carter.