Michigan’s Top Court Deciding Whether To Punish Judge Who Locked Kids Up In Custody Case

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Supreme Court is considering a 30-day suspension for a metro Detroit judge who ordered three siblings to juvenile detention for failing to visit their father.

The court will hear arguments Wednesday about the recommendation from the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, which acts as a watchdog over judges. Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca is asking the court to dismiss the case or order no more than a reprimand.

Gorcyca made headlines in 2015 when she held three kids in contempt and sent them to juvenile detention for two weeks. The incident stemmed from a contentious divorce. The judge blamed the mother for alienating the two boys and their younger sister from their father.

[Kids Locked Up For Refusing To Have Lunch With Dad; Judge Compares Siblings To Charles Manson Cult]

Gorcyca’s lawyers say she’s received “more national praise than outrage” in handling a very tricky matter.

The children’s parents, Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni, had been involved in a bitter divorce battle for years. The Bloomfield Hills couple, who married in 1995, made dozens of court appearances concerning parenting time, therapy, schooling and other issues — but never reached a common ground.

At a 2015 hearing, Gorcyca told the children that their father has “gone through hoops” to maintain a relationship with them despite his issues with their mother. The judge insisted the children make an effort to talk to their father and Omer Tsimhoni suggested they have lunch together — but the children refused.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Gorcyca said during the 2015 hearing. “One day you can watch this video and realize that you two have been brainwashed… This is not normal behavior. No adult in this courtroom, except one, thinks this is normal. Every single adult in this courtroom thinks you have been brainwashed.”

The children — then 9, 10 and 15 — were taken into custody and hauled off to Children’s Village after declining to have lunch with their father.

Gorcyca’s attorneys argue her actions were stern and harsh but not misconduct. They say those actions followed several attempts to get the children to participate in parenting time.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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