DETROIT (WWJ) – The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered the removal of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Ross Adams from the bench on charges of judicial misconduct.
Adams, who served as a judge for the family division of the Wayne County Circuit Court, is accused of forging her former attorney’s name on legal documents involving her personal divorce documents — and then lying about it under oath.
The Supreme Court ruling superseded a recommendation by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission for a 180 day suspension.
It was a 5-2 decision.
In the majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman wrote about the Tenure Commission’s recommendation: “We do not believe that such a sanction would sufficiently address the harm done to the integrity of the judiciary.”
The opinion also reads, in part:
“As the focal point of the administration of justice, a judge is entrusted by the public and has the responsibility to seek truth and justice by evaluating the testimony given under oath. Testifying falsely under oath, as respondent has been adjudged to have done, is conduct that is the antithesis of judicial integrity.
The effectiveness of our judicial system is dependent upon the public’s trust and confidence and when a judge testifies falsely under oath, the public’s trust and confidence in that system can only be seriously eroded. Testifying falsely under oath is antithetical to the role of a judge who is sworn to uphold the law and seek the truth.”
Ross Adams’ attorney Cyril Hall told the Detroit News he was “devastated” by the court’s action.
“How can it be a determinant for removal from the bench?” said Hall. “It’s not like she committed fraud or stole something. This is about conduct while she was off the bench.”
Ross Adams is the second Wayne County Judge to make the news in recent months for alleged misconduct.
The Tenure Commission in March ruled Judge Wade McCree acted irresponsibly when he carried on an affair with a woman while presiding over a case against the father of her child. McCree, who admitted he had sex with the woman in his judicial chambers, had previously made headlines when he sent a semi-nude photo of himself to a courtroom deputy. (Catch up on that case, HERE).