The Michigan Supreme Court voted yesterday 5-2 to remove Wayne Family Circuit Judge Deborah Ross Adams from office for lying under oath and other violations of judicial ethics. In removing Adams, the court found that a 180-day suspension recommended by the Judicial Tenure Commission was manifestly too low for a judge lying under oath.
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission charged Adams with professional misconduct in 2012. She was accused of lying to Oakland County Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Brennan about repeatedly calling her office concerning her divorce from former Detroit Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams. She then allegedly forged her lawyer’s name to a court document. The commission also accused Ross Adams of lying when it confronted her about both incidents.
The Commission clearly viewed the subject of the lie — making calls to chambers — had bearing on the punishment. It reminds me of the defense of Bill Clinton who suggested that lying under oath about an affair is different from lying about something related to his office. I testified in the impeachment hearings against such a relativistic interpretation.
Do you believe that removal was appropriate in this case?