February 8, 2012
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit has charged a former Jackson County District Court Judge for his role in allegedly abusing his authority as a judge by dismissing multiple traffic tickets issued to his wife and court staff without just cause. The charges result from an investigation by the Attorney General following a referral by the Jackson County Prosecutor's office.
"Corruption within our justice system is an affront to Michigan citizens who expect public integrity at all levels of government," said Schuette. "Self-enrichment and cronyism will be tackled wherever it is found."
It is alleged that former Jackson County 12th District Court Judge James Justin, 67, of Jackson, dismissed multiple traffic citations issued to his wife, Kim Justin, as well as a court officer and court reporter affiliated with his courtroom. Between November 2006 and May 2010, three speeding tickets and one ticket for "defective equipment" issued by local law enforcement were allegedly dismissed by Judge Justin, without just cause. The dismissals occurred without a hearing or notice to the county prosecutor. Schuette alleges Justin's actions also violated court rules that call for a Judge to be disqualified in matters where the judge has a relationship with the defendant.
Justin has been charged with four counts of the common law offense of Misconduct in Office, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Arrangements are being made for Justin to surrender himself to the proper authorities for arraignment in Jackson District Court. Arraignment is expected this week, once a visiting judge has been appointed.
The Michigan Supreme Court removed Justin from office on January 27, 2012, upon recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, for his role in these and other matters of judicial misconduct.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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