NOVI, Mich. – Four years ago, Judge Brian MacKenzie presided over his calling card: a drunken driving case.
Walled Lake police upped the drunken driving and operating on a suspended license charge in the case to resisting arrest and obstruction. However, in a secret recording, MacKenzie allegedly can be heard trying to keep Walled Lake from having to pay for an attorney by trading jail time for dropping a civil suit -- a civil suit that had not even been filed.
How it started:
Video shows Marquin Stanley inside the Wixom police station four years ago. A deputy hung up the phone on Stanley and told him to start cleaning out his pockets. Stanley did and the officer broke out a Taser, fired it and kicked Stanley to roll him over.
Timothy Corr, of 248 Lawyers, right away was thinking lawsuit.
"So they write in the report that they had to do it because (Stanley) squared off. That's a lie. They had no reason to Taser him so I certainly knew there was a claim, but I never brought it up with anybody in the court," said Corr.
Corr says an initial discussion with MacKenzie in his chambers had the judge pushing against a civil suit in exchange for jail time. In disbelief, Corr brought his tape recorder to the next meeting.
Here's an excerpt from the recording:
MacKenzie: Give up the civil suit.
Corr: He didn't and he paid the price you gave him which was 90 days.
MacKenzie: Give up the civil suit and I can get you something decent ... If they're willing to drop the (resisting and obstructing). Do you really think that you're going to become rich with the (resisting and obstructing) given no injuries?
Corr: That doesn't have anything to do with it. Don't you think it's a little maybe unethical to do that to somebody?
MacKenzie: I don't. I actually don't, I do it all the time here.
"This is an example of a judge putting his own personal agenda into a legal case that involves somebody else's life," said Corr. "You can't do that."
MacKenzie was out of town in Grand Rapids at a judicial conference and was not available to comment in this story. There has been no response from his attorney.