- Associated Press - Saturday, March 8, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a public reprimand as too light a punishment for a Wayne County judge who admits she reported to work after 10 a.m. during an entire week while lawyers and others were waiting in her courtroom.

The court turned down a recommendation from a watchdog agency, the Judicial Tenure Commission, which investigated after TV station WXYZ tracked the arrival and departure of Judge Sheila Gibson during a week in 2012.

“The proposed discipline is insufficient in light of the facts presented to the court,” the Supreme Court said in an order released Saturday.

The commission called Gibson’s conduct “repeated and sustained,” but it limited its investigation to one week.

“By so doing, the commission may have given substantially less consideration than was warranted to the burdens and inconveniences imposed by (Gibson) upon parties, witnesses, attorneys, employers and employees, court staff and members of the public,” the Supreme Court said.

The commission has 42 days to come up with a new recommendation or at least provide a status report on the case. Only the Supreme Court can reprimand, suspend or remove a Michigan judge.

Gibson’s attorney, Brian Einhorn, said he’s disappointed with the court’s decision. He said Gibson was late to Wayne County Family Court for “family reasons.”

The judge didn’t dispute her arrival times at the courthouse but said she often left work after 7 p.m. WXYZ said she left no later than 4:30 p.m. during the week in question.

“Pending matters were concluded in a timely manner,” Einhorn said of the judge’s docket.

The Supreme Court’s vote was 5-1. Justice Michael Cavanagh would have accepted the censure recommendation. Justice Mary Beth Kelly didn’t participate.


Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwhiteap

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