DETROIT - In our judicial system we are all considered innocent until proven guilty.
But over the past few years we who live in or work in Detroit have lost any sense of "innocence" when it comes to the positively loathsome behavior of some of the city's leaders as it spills over into their professional lives.
I vividly recall sitting just feet away from then Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as he perjured himself on the stand claiming he did not have an affair with his chief of staff Christine Beatty. He was particularly heinous, in retrospect, as he lectured attorney Mike Stefani for even asking the question reasoning arrogantly it insulted his mother, grandmother and African American women in general. Kwame and Christine, as we have all learned after reading the text messages Sefani released, carried on as if they had invented sex!
Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans lost his job in part because of his extra-marital affair with Detroit Police Lt. Monique Patterson. Let's put emphasis on Chief vs. Lt. This is a boss having an affair with an employee. That's a modern lawsuit waiting to happen! Then, most recently, now former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee lost his job [forced to retire really] after a particularly sad and frightening Facebook post by Detroit Police Internal Affairs Officer Angelica Robinson. Apparently suicidal, she had placed her silver plated service weapon in her mouth as a way of showing Godbee she didn't appreciate his cheating on her with another woman.
Do I have to mention Godbee wasn't married to Robinson or that she too was an underling in the department? Godbee's wife then as now spends her days working as the receptionist for the Detroit City Council and was known as one of the few particularly happy and genuinely nice people inside the City County building.
All of that repulsive behavior is prelude to the events playing out this week inside the Washtenaw County Courthouse in Downtown Ann Arbor. Once again we are treated the salacious and steamy details of a married public official incapable of self-restraint. Judge Wade McCree would have you believe he was so bereft at the loss of his sister and mother in one year the anguish forced a "personal implosion" [as his attorney put it].
McCree saw an attractive woman enter his courtroom and was immediately smitten.
He later texted Geniene La'Shay Mott: "Every man in the courtroom was peeping your upscale game. Come on you're talking about the docket from hell filled with tightened-up, overweight, half-assed English speaking, skank hoes and then you walk in."
The judge gave her his business card that fateful day. Mott was in his courtroom because her "baby-daddy" [as McCree referred to him] owed something on the order of $15,000 in child support. Mott and McCree ended up going to lunch, then launching into the same kind of antics that made Kwame and Christine so infamous. No one denies Mott and McCree had sex in hotels, the judge's marital home, in a home he helped her buy, in his late mother's vacant Ann Arbor home where he allowed her to live while he helped her purchase a new Detroit home. But the real capper here is they admit to having sex inside the judge's chambers; sex Mott claims led to a pregnancy. A pregnancy the judge, allegedly at the prodding of his wife, wanted to have terminated.
What's more, this is Jump Street. As time went on the State's Judicial Tenure Assistant Examiner is attempting to prove in her case against McCree that he allowed Mott to assist in his meting out justice to Mott's boyfriend. The State contends McCree wanted to know how much child support the boyfriend was paying so he could appropriately budget paying the rest of Mott's living expenses. McCree's attorney of course says none of this part of the case is true; that while the judge had personal issues they did not affect any justice anywhere. Deciding that is of course why we have judges. The Michigan Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether Judge McCree gets to stay a judge. His case is not helped by his shirtless photo and his boast of "there's no shame in my game" that brought him censure from the court previously.
All of these cases leave you wondering what on God's green earth is going on here? Yes, I was a Boy Scout and an alter boy. I am married [28 years] to my high school sweetheart and find affairs positively repugnant. But in a day and age when half of all marriages end in divorce I can't allow my personal feelings about the sanctity of marriage cloud my view of reality. I will concede for the average person their private life should stay private and whatever mistakes, mishaps or misdeeds coming into play it is their business and their business along. But the rules change when you are a public official, paid by taxpayer dollars to perform vital services. By definition these people are and should be held to a higher standard of conduct; private and public. Watching public figures carry on this way is NOT normal! While real, it should still be frowned upon as a breach of the public trust!
These are in fact public figures who ask us to trust them as they make judgments [supposedly] for the greater good. How can people with so little respect for themselves or their loved ones be trusted to show any more respect for the community at large?
That's what has me shaking my head after listening to text message after salacious text message and every jaw dropping steamy email. Doesn't Detroit have enough trouble without having to wade into this kind of sleaze at the same time? Detroit deserves better!
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