Commission wants Michigan justice suspended in fraud case

Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission issues formal complaint against Justice Diane Hathaway

DETROIT - The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission on Monday instituted formal proceedings against Justice Diane M. Hathaway, a member of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Read: Lawyer: Justice Diane Hathaway will retire Jan. 21

The formal proceedings are commenced by the filing of a formal complaint, which, in this case, alleges that Hathaway engaged in fraud and money laundering in connection with real estate she owned in Michigan and Florida. The government says Hathaway temporarily transferred the home to a relative while trying to negotiate a short sale on a Michigan property. After the sale went through, and mortgage debt was erased, the Florida home went back to Hathaway and Kingsley. The government says ING Bank was cheated.

READ: Hathaway complaint

The Commission also filed a petition in the Michigan Supreme Court to have Hathaway suspended pending the resolution of these proceedings.

The filing of a formal complaint nor the petition for interim suspension is a determination of judicial misconduct.

What happens next?

Hathaway has 14 days to file a a response to the complaint.

READ: Michigan Justice Hathaway denies fraud allegations

The Commission has also petitioned the Supreme Court for the appointment of a "master," usually a retired judge or Justice, who will preside over a public hearing.

At that hearing, the parties will have an opportunity to introduce evidence and examine and cross examine witnesses.

Following the completion of the hearing, the master will provide the Commission with a report containing findings of fact with respect to the allegations in the formal complaint. The parties will have an opportunity to present their views on the report to the Commission through briefing and oral argument. If the Commission determines that the charges are proved by a preponderance of the evidence, the Commission may recommend that the Supreme Court discipline Justice Hathaway. That discipline can range from public censure, suspension, or removal from office.

Who is the Commission

The Judicial Tenure Commission is an independent state commission established in 1968 by amendment to the Michigan Constitution. The Commission investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and disability, conducts hearing as appropriate, and recommends sanctions to the Michigan Supreme Court. The Commission is composed of nine members. Four are judges elected by their respective judicial associations, one is a judge elected by members of the State Bar of Michigan, two are attorneys elected by the members of the State Bar of Michigan, and two are lay persons appointed by the governor. The Commission Chairperson is Thomas J. Ryan.

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