By now, most everybody, including USA Today, knows about the affair between Judge Wade McCree and Geniene LaShay Mott that formed the basis of charges brought against him by the Judicial Tenure Commission. Today, Special Master Charles Nelson released his report. Of the five counts of misconduct charged, here's the gist of Nelson's findings (with typos corrected):
I. Judge McCree's with respect to People v. King, for which the Mott was the complaining witness and custodial parent:
The testimony indicated that McCree was not in violation of the 9.205 provisions pertaining to the performance of his work. Those testifying as to the subject indicated that he was fair, responsive to the parties and handled his docket in an orderly fashion. His actions in the King case show, however, a gross dereliction of judicial duties. His standard of conduct, for his own sexual gratification, has severely damaged the public's view of the judiciary. His irresponsible conduct could only lead to the public having no confidence in the judiciary. He clearly knew he was especially subject to public scrutiny when he had a case pending before the JTC when he began his escapade with Mott. He knew he was on the “chopping block”. Yet he continued to engage in activities which would bring even greater scrutiny. He was using his judicial position to advance his own interests by keeping the King case. His social relationship gave Mott the belief that she was able to influence his judicial duties. He continuously engaged in ex parte communications with Mott about the case.
Count II. Judge McCree's report to the Wayne County prosecutor that Mott was stalking him.
It is clear that he was improperly seeking to get the prosecutor and her office involved with alleged crimes that were not existent.
Count III. Judge McCree's conduct with respect to People v. Tillman; Tillman was Mott's cousin.
He was ethically not to be involved and should not have been signing any orders pertaining to the case. McCree's actions were beyond an appearance of impropriety – they were in violation of the ethical standards.
Count IV. Text messages between Judge McCree and Mott.
One cannot excuse the language used. But it was used in a private context and when used there was no reason to believe that the statements would become public. The fact that he may have sent some messages from the bench (as in Tillman) does not mean that he was not performing as a judge. There is no showing that the sending of the texts in any way interfered with his duties as a judge. I do not believe that this count rises to the level of judicial misconduct.
Count V. Misrepresentations to the Judicial Tenure Commission.
These allegations are not such as to warrant action by the JTC.