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"Special master" will hear case of Wayne County judge accused of misconduct, lewd remarks

Judge's gavel with books on a desk

The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed a special master to help decide whether a Wayne County judge committed judicial misconduct.

Two female prosecutors have accused Third Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow of making sexually suggestive and explicit comments during a 2019 homicide trial—from derogatorily comparing one prosecutor’s questioning of a medical examiner to sexual intercourse, to asking another about her height and weight (see the accusations here, and Morrow’s response to them here).

The special master will preside over a trial of sorts for Morrow, said John Nevin, a spokesperson for the Michigan Supreme Court. Both sides will get a chance to make their case.

Then the master will make a recommendation to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, which will hold its own hearing. The commission will then report its findings to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether to take further action against Morrow, such as suspending him from the bench.

Nevin said this can be a very lengthy process. “If the judge in the case decides to take all the time that’s allowed, and to fight the process, it could take a considerable amount of time,” he said.

Morrow is fighting the allegations against him. He denies making some of the remarks, and says others were exaggerated or taken out of context.

Morrow has been punished by the Judicial Tenure Commission before. In 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended him without pay for 60 days for “continually doing what he wanted regardless of the law.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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