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Michigan judge who was removed from office now faces charges

While many cases of alleged white collar crime go unnoticed or undetected for long periods of time, sometimes incidents occur that are in near-public view. This appears to be the case for a longtime Michigan judge who now not only finds himself out of a job because of allegations of misconduct, but now faces criminal charges over the same allegations.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission had sought the judge's removal after allegations surfaced that he had dismissed without just cause several traffic tickets that had been issued to members of his staff, including his court officer and his court reporter, as well as to his wife. In addition he is alleged to have dismissed parking tickets that had been issued to him.

The 67-year-old judge was charged with five common law offenses and could face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. A common law offense in Michigan is something that is considered to be criminal but does not violate a specific law on the books.

The judge had been on the bench since 1977. Because of the sensitive nature of the case, his fellow judges in Jackson County all recused themselves from having anything to do with their former colleague's case.

Because of the public nature of the case, many might assume the former judge is guilty. But this is not necessarily so. Anyone accused of a crime, even if it has been widely reported on, is still entitled to a trial and can consult with a criminal defense attorney who will work for that person's acquittal.

Source: MLive.com, "Former Jackson County Judge James Justin charged with four felony counts for fixing tickets," Danielle Salisbury, Feb. 7, 2012

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