(WWJ) 36th District Court Judge Kahlilia Davis — who was elected a year ago and as of March still hadn’t spent one day on the bench — is suing Nancy Blount, chief judge of the court.
It’s believed to be the first case of its kind in the country.
The situation is long and complex, but basically Chief Judge Blount removed Davis from hearing cases after four complaints in a month from litigants and attorneys, including allegations that Davis called a defendant a racist, wrongly adjourned cases, and improperly waived court costs. Davis disputes the allegations and says she should not have been removed from her seat.
The removal also came after Davis drew the ire of many for refusing to take the bench for months after she was elected to the $138,000-a-year position in one of the busiest courthouses in the country.
First, Davis said she needed time off for a trip to Germany, then she said she had surgery that left her with a staph infection and open wounds. In the time she said she was unable to work, WJBK-TV in Detroit found her shopping at Sam’s Club and visiting the gym.
Davis also claimed at the time that Blount was using “retaliatory harassment” against her while she wasn’t working because Davis had defeated Blount’s step-grandson in the election.
She eventually took the bench, and now in a rare move, Davis is suing the judge who runs the court where she works because she was ordered to stop hearing cases — but still report daily to work. The order Blount issued for Davis to halt hearing cases is based on Davis’ alleged “demonstrated inability to perform her duties and responsibilities as a district court judge.”
On her side, Davis alleges her problems stem from Blount allowing some 36th District Court bailiffs to violate litigants’ rights to due process in landlord/tenant cases by forging the proof of service, which proves the person being evicted has been notified they’re supposed to appear in court.
“I started requiring that people would be honest with these proofs of service and notify people, they have a due process right to have notice they appear in court for these eviction hearings — and people were lying on the proofs of service, they were lying on the record,” Davis told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas.
Finding one process server guilty over what she believed was an illegal proof of service, Davis put him in jail — and says Blount released him the next day. Davis claims Blount didn’t have the proper authority to release him.
The lawsuit alleges Blount used “draconian power” to remove Davis from hearing cases. She also says Blount has used her position to “harass, annoy and embarrass” her by classifying sick days as vacation days, ordering her not to return until further notice after her lengthy sick leave, failing to provide her with training, and inappropriately disciplining her.
The suit notes Blount has no right to override the democratic process by refusing to seat a judge who was democratically elected. Davis wants to regain her seat on the bench and have Blount pay her attorney fees, and any other “relief the court deems just and proper.”