From Justice Marilyn Kelly's opinion (PDF):
The Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC) has recommended that this Court remove
22d District Court Judge Sylvia A. James from office for judicial misconduct. Judge James (respondent) has filed a petition asking this Court to reject that recommendation. We affirm the JTC’s findings and its recommendation and conclude that it is necessary and appropriate to remove Judge James from office for the remainder of her term.
The evidence establishes that respondent misappropriated public funds, some of which were intended for victims of crime in the city of Inkster. She inappropriately spent much of this money on self-promoting advertisements and travel expenses for herself and various other court employees. She treated these funds, as the master phrased it, as her own “publicly funded private foundation.” In addition, she (1) denied people access to the court by instituting and enforcing an improper business-attire policy, (2) employed a family member in violation of court policy, and (3) made numerous misrepresentations of fact under oath during the investigation and hearing of this matter.
The cumulative effect of respondent’s misconduct, coupled with its duration, nature, and pervasiveness, convinces this Court that she is unfit for judicial office. Although some of her misconduct, considered in isolation, does not justify such a severe sanction, taken as a whole her misconduct rises to a level that requires her removal from office.
In a concurrence, Justice Markman wrote:
Although I concur with the majority that Judge James’s misconduct warrants
removal and the payment of restitution for the diversion of public funds into her “personal piggybank” and as part of her “publicly-funded private foundation,” I do not think that this sanction sufficiently addresses the harm done to the integrity of the judiciary. In light of this Court’s responsibility to ensure the integrity of our judicial system, both in appearance and in fact, and in light of the serious misconduct by Judge James that directly impugns the integrity of our “one court of justice” and because of her serious abuse of the public trust, financial and otherwise, I would impose a six-year conditional suspension in addition to the sanctions imposed by the majority.