Comments on: No Sanctions, But Stern Words for Worthy it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Dave Cahill Dave Cahill Wed, 23 Jan 2013 19:35:54 +0000 Well, Mark, your suspicion is a bit odd. Would you have preferred that Judge Connors *keep* the Neal case while the rest of his docket went to others?

I supported Judge Connors and was listed as a supporter. Maybe that made me a member of his re-election committee. However, I was not a member of his campaign committee; I didn’t follow his campaign that closely.

And no, I have never served as legal director of the Ann Arbor ACLU branch.

Please be more careful in your research.

By: Mark Koroi Mark Koroi Wed, 23 Jan 2013 00:50:38 +0000 @David Cahill:

Timothy Connors presided over the Neal litigation over ten years and suddenly loses it to a “general case re-assignment” while a highly-publicized motion for disqualification is pending? Sounds a tad suspicious to me.

David, you should also disclose you were on the Connors re-election committee and have served as legal director of the Ann Arbor ACLU branch (Dick Soble is an outspoken ACLU member as well).

Kym Worthy has been publicly disparaged before for her previous highly-publicized prosecutions that offend many. It does not surprise me some may be angered for her advocacy of crime victims to receive a fair hearing in their quest for restitution from convicted prisoners.

By: David Cahill David Cahill Sun, 20 Jan 2013 21:47:25 +0000 All of the circuit judges’ case assignments were shifted around, effective January 1, because of the retirement of Judge Morris and the election of Judge Kuhnke. Judge Connors’ existing civil cases were split 50-50 between Judge Shelton and Judge Brown.

This process was hardly a mystery to lawyers practicing here in Washtenaw County.

By: John Dory John Dory Sat, 19 Jan 2013 20:40:38 +0000 Several points I would like to make:

Chief Judge Donald Shelton’s name was prominently displayed as an endorser of Timothy Connors on the Connors’ campaign committee’s website [link] – Shelton should have disclosed this to the parties at the disqualification hearing. Shelton also not only endorsed Margaret Connors, the judge’s spouse, in her 2008 District Court candidacy, but also donated to her campaign committee.

Secondly, it is clear Judge Shelton wanted to defend the integrity of the circuit court at the expense of Kym Worthy. There was no proof of any attempt by Woodyard’s campaign to get this disqualifcation filed – however Connors’ acceptance of $8,000 in contributions from 6 of 9 attorneys in the Neal case was highly questionable in itself. Virtually all the top donors to Connors’ campaign had high-dollar cases before him.

The case re-assignment of Neal just days before the disqualification hearing is very interesting. Connors presideed over the case for well over ten years.

Dick Soble’s name had previously surfaced in a separate case in the same circuit court : Insight on the News article dated July 22, 2002 – “UAW Lawyers Skirt The Rules of Law” by Michael F. Munday [link]

This Neal litigation was Connors’ “career case” which he boasted of during his re-election campaign. To take it away him as part of a mysterious “case re-assignment” leads one to believe that there is more than meets the eye here.

By: Mark Koroi Mark Koroi Fri, 18 Jan 2013 19:04:41 +0000 @David Cahill:

There are several constitutional provisions that are relevant:

Article VI, Section Five:

“The office of master in chancery is prohibited.”

Also see Article VI, Sections One and Twenty-Seven.

In Oakland County Prosecutor versus Beckwith, 242 MichApp 579, 619 NW2d 172 (2000) the court struck down the appointment of a special master on state constitutional grounds where a party objected.

By: Dave Cahill Dave Cahill Fri, 18 Jan 2013 14:42:03 +0000 The prisoners’ rights suit has been vigorously opposed from the beginning by groups who believe, essentially, that prisoners do not have any rights they are bound to respect. These groups lost the suit, in front of Connors, and still can’t reconcile themselves to the outcome.

The fact that Judge Shelton agreed to hear the motion for disqualification, even after the case was transferred from Judge Connors in a routine reassignment of cases, shows that Judge Shelton thought the motion had substantial merit. So does his ruling.

Mark, what’s your legal authority for the proposition that masters are not allowed in the state court system?

By: Mark Koroi Mark Koroi Fri, 18 Jan 2013 03:57:37 +0000 @David Cahill:

The transfer of the case by Shelton mooted the disqualification issue completely – Connors already lost jurisdiction of the case via administrative re-assignment. There was no need for the court even to hear the issue of grounds for disqualification once Shelton noted the transfer to his own court of the case.

I do agree, however, with Dick Soble that an evidentiary hearing to attempt substantiate some type of plot by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to file the motion for disqualification at a time calculated to embarrass Connors and help a member of that office would be interesting. But I feel it would be laughable to suggest that the Wayne County Prosecutor would engage in such conduct.

The case is nowhere near over from Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s perspective as she is seeking criminal restitution on behalf of crime victims from prisoner-plaintiffs and their lawsuit proceeds. Timothy Connors had appointed James Fajen as a “special master” to issue a report (despite the fact masters are not allowed in the Michigan state court system under the Michigan Constitution) on restitution matters.

I wish the Wayne County Prosecutor luck in collecting as much cash as possible for crime victims from these convicts.

By: Dave Cahill Dave Cahill Thu, 17 Jan 2013 21:25:29 +0000 Sorry, Mark, but the Wayne County lawyers lost it all here – except for actually being sanctioned.

By: Mark Koroi Mark Koroi Thu, 17 Jan 2013 19:03:06 +0000 The important aspect of the ruling is that Timothy Connors has been removed from the remainder of this case. I believe that Shelton’s ruling allowed all sides to save face.

Kym Worthy basically has what she wants in having the case re-assigned to a new judge and I think that the timing of this “general re-assignment” is maybe just too coincidental – but I believe that Judge Shelton basically gave Fresard and Worthy what they wanted without being offensive to Connors or Soble.

The “appearance of impropriety” standard of judicial disqualification is a lot easier to prove than he prior actual bias test.

I thank Donn Fresard and Kym Worthy for bringing the motion and congratulate Judge Shelton for his learned consideration and ruling.