A former Livingston County judge who pleaded guilty to lying under oath will serve jail time.
Ex-53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan was sentenced Friday afternoon and ordered to serve six months in jail. She must also complete a year and a half of probation and 200 hours of community service. Brennan earlier reached a plea deal with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in which she pleaded guilty to a charge of perjury in exchange for two lesser charges of tampering with evidence and misconduct in office being dropped.
The charges stem from Brennan’s 2016 divorce case, which were a large focus of her October 2018 Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission hearing. Brennan was accused of lying during a deposition about erasing data from her iPhone shortly after her husband filed for divorce in 2016. Testimony indicated that she was attempting to hide her extra-marital affair with a Michigan State Police detective.
At sentencing, Brennan’s defense asked for probation, with no jail time. They argued that her personal humiliation from the case, along with her never being able to practice law and sit on the bench again, was punishment enough. Brennan then stood before the judge and read passages from her journal expressing remorse. The prosecution argued that the tolerance of perjury should never be allowed, particularly by a sitting judge, and requested the maximum sentence per guidelines, being 6 months. Judge Paul John Cusick agreed with the prosecution. He said that Brennan’s actions were utterly unacceptable and that a probation sentence would be wholly inadequate. Judge Cusick said that a jail sentence is more than appropriate, and assigned Brennan 6 months.
Brennan was a judge for 14 years before she was removed in June by the Michigan Supreme Court. Her law license was suspended on December 3rd – the day she was convicted of perjury. However as part of Brennan’s guilty plea, she’s required to notify the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission of her criminal conviction. That could lead to future licensing sanctions, including disbarment.
Brennan is required to turn herself in next Friday, January 24th, at 9am. (JM/MK)