Commission Wants District Court Judge James Suspended

Michigan Judicial Tenure Conducts Investigation Into Questionable Actions

INKSTER, Mich. - The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission filed a petition Thursday asking to suspend Judge Sylvia James immediately.

James, who is currently on administrative leave, is a judge with the 22nd District Court in Inkster.

The petition obtained by Local 4 claims James withheld money from the Community Service Program's checking account and used funds improperly.

READ:Formal Complaint Filed Against Hon. Sylvia JamesREAD: Petition For Suspension Against Hon. Sylvia James

The CSP is funded through fees and costs imposed on individuals convicted on non-violent crimes and ordered to perform community service as part of their sentence.

Other claims include:

  • James diverted CSP funds to pay the travel expenses for her and her select employees to attend conferences
  • James diverted funds to various charitable, educational, civic and fraternal organizations in exchange for self-promoting advertisements
  • James submitted false "leave day" reports to the State Court Administrative office, misrepresenting days she was absent from her duties at the 22nd District Court.
  • James routinely arrived late for court and took excessively long lunches, resulting in cases being delayed.
  • James authorized a $400 check to Inkster High School to pay for junior varsity cheerleading uniforms.
  • James issued checks from the CPS account to several people, including her niece, Nicole James, as payments and/reimbursements associated with the 2009 Memorial Day Float.
  • James issued two checks from the CPS to HDR Embroidery for shirts. Both were reportedly in the amount of $161.

James' attorney, Sharon McPhail, said she and her client are fighting the allegations and complaint. McPhail said James was overworked and dealing with the city's own mismanagement of funds.

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