Reps. Theis, Vaupel, Runestad take first step in process
State Reps. Lana Theis, Hank Vaupel and Jim Runestad today introduced a House resolution calling for the impeachment of Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan.
If the resolution is approved by the House, an impeachment trial would occur in the Senate. If convicted, Brennan would then be removed from office.
“The troubling pattern of improper conduct exhibited by Judge Brennan has resulted in her losing the trust and confidence of her colleagues and the public,” said Theis, of Brighton. “The people of Livingston County deserve better. If she won’t resign, it’s time for the House to move forward with the impeachment process.”
Brennan is also under investigation through the Judicial Tenure Commission in the wake of an affair with a Michigan State Police detective assigned to a lead position for a 2013 murder case eventually heard in Brennan’s courtroom.
Brennan previously maintained the affair with 1st Lt. Sean Furlong took place after the murder trial, but phone records later showed the two spoke on the phone nearly 40 times between the start of the trial and sentencing. As a result, missteps levied against Brennan include misrepresenting the details of that conflict while being questioned, violating professional standards becoming of a judge, egregious misconduct from the bench and misappropriating public resources for personal gain.
Former Livingston County Circuit Judge Daniel Burress has requested a grand jury investigation into Brennan’s conduct. The Michigan Court of Appeals also removed her from a divorce case, citing hostile behavior toward the defendant.
“While Judge Brennan’s caseload was removed and reassigned to a visiting judge a few months ago, she continues to collect a paycheck at the expense of taxpayers,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to hold her accountable and restore honesty, integrity and rule of law to our court.”
While the representatives acknowledge that impeachment should only be pursued in extreme circumstances, they believe it is appropriate in this situation.
“Judge Brennan violated the public’s trust and must be held accountable,” said Runestad, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. “The continual delays surrounding this situation have gone on far too long. This action is necessary to restore the public’s trust in the venerated institution of the judiciary.”
House Resolution 399 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.