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146826 - In re Hon. Wade H. McCree

In the Matter of
Honorable WADE H. MCCREE
 
Brian D. Einhorn
3rd Judicial Circuit Court
 
 
Before the Judicial Tenure Commission
 
Paul J. Fischer
 
 
 


Summary

​Judge Wade McCree, who serves on the Wayne Circuit Court, was assigned to a felony case involving failure to pay child support. The complainant, Geniene LaShay Mott, was owed about $15,000 in back support for her daughter; the defendant was Mott’s ex-boyfriend, Robert King, Jr. McCree and Mott exchanged phone numbers after the hearing and eventually had a sexual relationship.

McCree and Mott frequently communicated about her child support case: Before one hearing, Mott told McCree that King should “get jail” unless he paid $25,000 because he was not keeping current on his payments. McCree texted back to Mott:
I figured if [he] hasn’t come current by his court date, he gets jail 2 pay. If he says he can bring me the $$, I’ll put him on a tether till he brings the receipt 2 FOC or do ‘double time’.

On June 20, 2012, McCree e-mailed Mott, saying that he needed to be “real careful” while under scrutiny by the Judicial Tenure Commission for having texted semi-nude photos of himself to others, including a female sheriff’s deputy. (The Supreme Court publicly censured McCree in that matter.) McCree added, “… you are the complaining witness on a case that is before me. Naturally if it got out that we were seeing each other before your B.D.’s [baby daddy’s] case closed, everybody could be in deep s***.”

Mott and McCree continued to communicate about the case, with McCree arranging for Mott to bring her cell into court and text with him during an August 16 hearing. Because King was behind in his payments on that date, McCree placed him on a tether, to be worn until the balance was paid. The next review hearing was to be on November 15, 2012.

On September 6, 2012, McCree texted Mott:
Yeah, I’m DEEPLY concerned that certain levels of “us” remain COMPLETELY UNDETECTED as long as U’r still a litigant N case B4 me & while my nuts R still on a chopping block B4 the JTC.

Mott texted back that she thought the case had been transferred; McCree responded, “I’m in the process of transferring the case.” On September 18, 2012, after arranging to have the King case transferred to Wayne Circuit Judge James Callahan, McCree texted Mott:
DONE DEAL!!!:-. I told a story so well, I had me believing it!! Brother King is on his way 2 ‘hanging’ Judge Callahan. He f*** up ONCE & he’s through!!

Meanwhile, another felony nonsupport case, People v Tillman, had been assigned to McCree; the defendant was Mott’s relative. Mott and McCree communicated about the case via text, with Mott asking what her relative needed to do, once his bond had been paid, to be released from jail.

In October 2012, McCree filed a divorce complaint, although he later testified that he did so only to placate Mott and that he never intended to divorce his wife. Mott, who told McCree that she was pregnant, was pressuring McCree to marry her; McCree began urging Mott to get an abortion, telling Mott that his wife insisted on the abortion before going through with the divorce.

On November 19, 2012, McCree went to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, saying that “he had been a bad boy and gotten into a bad relationship and that the lady was stalking him.” Worthy told respondent that there was not enough information to bring charges, but that she would have the matter investigated. During an interview with police investigators, McCree told them that Mott was stalking him; that he did not believe that Mott was pregnant because he was “the king of latex”; and that “Wade was being played.”

On a request from the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Supreme Court ordered McCree suspended without pay; the February 8, 2013 order stated that McCree’s salary would be held in escrow during the JTC proceedings.

In its complaint against McCree, the JTC alleged five counts of judicial misconduct: (I) improper conduct in People v King; (II) false report of a felony (to the Wayne County Prosecutor); (III) improper conduct in People v Tillman; (IV) improper bench conduct and demeanor; and (V) misrepresentations to the JTC.

A retired judge appointed by the Supreme Court to hold hearings in the matter concluded that Counts I through III were supported by the evidence, but that the remaining two counts were not. The judge found that McCree should have recused himself in the King case on the day he exchanged phone numbers with Mott, adding that McCree had used “his judicial position to advance his own interests by keeping the King case.” The judge also found that McCree had lied to Worthy and her investigators; moreover, the events of late October through late November “show a pattern of lies and deception” by McCree.

The JTC recommends that the Supreme Court remove McCree from office and conditionally suspend him for six years, beginning on January 1, 2015, if he is re-elected to judicial office in November 2014. In general, the JTC found that McCree had failed to recuse himself when he should have, used his chambers for sex, permitted Mott to violate courthouse procedures, engaged in numerous ex parte discussions with Mott about the King and Tillman cases, and made material misrepresentations under oath regarding his misconduct.

McCree challenges the JTC’s conclusions, saying that the JTC “manufactured” instances of misconduct. Among other matters, he contends that he had ended his affair with Mott before the Tillman case and was not required to recuse himself when the defendant turned out to be Mott’s relative. He also maintains that he did not lie to the JTC about his relationship with Mott, and that the sanction recommended by the JTC is excessive, compared to sanctions imposed in earlier, analogous JTC cases.