OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission recommended Monday that Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca be suspended without pay for 30 days over her handling of a controversial child custody case.
The recommendation says Gorcyca "committed an act of judicial misconduct in open court on June 24, 2015." It also says that "while her responses may have been inaccurate and somewhat misleading, (she) did not make intentionally false statements in her answer to the formal complaint or during her testimony at the public hearing."
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission ruled in July that Gorcyca engaged in "inappropriate demeanor on the bench" and "failed to act in a patient, dignified and judicial manner by making disparaging comments to the children." The ruling said that she abused her judicial power in a decision to hold three siblings in contempt of court for refusing to have lunch with their father amid their parents' volatile divorce.
Gorcyca testified in a May misconduct hearing that she had exhausted all other options before finding the siblings in contempt of court.
The commission issued a two-count ethics complaint against Gorcyca for failing to "act in a patient, dignified and courteous manner" during the court hearing last summer and then making false statements to the commission after its initial inquiry.
The complaint also alleged that during the court's proceedings, Gorcyca "used a raised and/or angry voice" andd that she "laughed at the children and was sarcastic."
The outcome of the custody case made headlines last year when Gorcyca sent the 9-year-old, 10-year-old and 13-year-old to juvenile detention after they refused to meet with their father.
The five-year custody battle between the children's parents -- Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni -- took a bizarre turn when the eldest child refused the order to communicate with his father based on the accusations that his father had been violent toward his mother.
Gorcyca sentenced him to Oakland County's Children's Village detention facility for the summer, saying that he was in direct contempt of the court.
During the contempt hearing, Gorcyca also told the boy that she was doubtful that he has a high IQ, he had no manners, was mentally messed up and should research Charles Manson's cult to learn about brainwashing.
"You had very simple choices and you’re clearly, clearly very messed up," Gorcyca said.
After the 13-year-old was taken away in handcuffs, the two younger children apologized and Gorcyca ordered them to have lunch with their father the next day.
However, the two refused the order and Gorcyca also sentenced them to detention for the summer.
"You have been brainwashed. You are brainwashed. This is not normal behavior," Gorcyca told the children.
She ordered that the children be separated in detention along with no visitation from their mother or other family members.
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