A local lawmaker is introducing legislation that would prevent judges charged with a felony from collecting their salary.
State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township says that “Livingston County residents are all too familiar with this scenario after heaving dealt with the fallout from former Judge Theresa Brennan’s crimes.” Brennan was suspended in February of 2019, but continued to collect her salary until being removed from the bench in June.
Theis announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation on Thursday that would protect taxpayers by withholding the salary of a judge who has been charged with a felony and who is not hearing matters before the court, or has been suspended. Senate bills 764-766 would apply to district, probate, or circuit court judge meeting the criteria. The salary would be withheld in escrow by the State Court Administrative Office, and if the judge is found guilty, remitted to the state and county, or counties, in which the salary originated. If the charges are dropped or the judge is found not guilty, the judge will receive the money held in escrow upon reinstatement.
The bills have bipartisan support with 25 cosponsors and are expected to be referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.(MK)