"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Michigan judge Lisa Gorcyca snaps against innocent litigants and children after a million-dollar lawsuit against her husband settles, is censured - and defies censure by hosting a flashmob in her support, complete with flowers, standing ovation, and her husband accepting handshakes from lawyers in a "receiving line"

I wrote on this blog about a judge from the State of Michigan, Lisa Gorcyca ("gorcyca"/"горчица" means "mustard" in Russian, by the way) who ordered three children to jail, and separated from each other, without visitation from the mother, "until they turn 18", for refusing to go to lunch with their father who one of the child testified abused their mother.

Lisa Gorcyca not only sent children to jail, but did it in a sadistic way, and made sadistic comments during the "procedure".

No motions to recuse during that sadistic procedure, from attorneys for children, were mentioned in the press.

Lisa Gorcyca rejected the child's testimony that the father abused the mother in front of him, and reports from social services and police confirming that and stated that there was NO evidence of such abuse.

Thus, for judge Gorcyca, the child's testimony about one parent abusing another in front of the child - which in any state constitutes child neglect chargeable against the abuser (here, the father) - is not evidence at all, because it is coming from a child.

So, Judge Gorcyca showed herself as an authoritarian and sadistic jerk towards the children - and an international outcry in the media and social media followed.

Michigan judicial disciplinary system responded to the outcry - with strong words and a slap on the wrist not matching the strong words.

Right after the order of discipline was issued, lawyers practicing in front of Gorcyca organized a public display of support, a flash-mob complete with flowers, a standing ovation and shaking the hand of the judge's husband David Gorcyca, who apparently was also present there.

Here is the happy couple, David Gorcyca and Lisa Gorcyca:

Judge Gorcyca's husband David Gorcyca is a former prosecutor in the same county who reportedly retired in 2008.

When asked in 2008 about his wife Lisa Gorcyca running for a judge, David Gorcyca responded that his wife has more experience as a prosecutor than he does - and he had by that time 15 years of prosecutorial experience, that she is a "very people-oriented and is very conscientious about her job":

So - if Judge Gorcyca was conscientious about her job and had such a vast prosecutorial experience, and that included working with law enforcement and social services, why disregard the child's testimony and law enforcement/social services report regarding domestic abuse of one parent against another in front of the child?

Actually, the reason why Judge Gorcyca suddenly changed her position regarding domestic violence and child neglect and decided not only to disregard testimony of the child, his siblings and the mother for voicing the issue of domestic abuse, is very personal, so personal that Judge Gorcyca should have been removed from Family Court cases since she is unable to separate her personal feelings on the issue from the job she is doing.

Yet, the appearance of a personal reason is very clear from the timing of when Judge Gorcyca jailed the kids, the manner in which she did it and the way Judge Gorcyca rejected evidence of domestic violence presented by the oldest child.

The kids were reportedly jailed in June of 2015, specifically, on June 24, 2015.

That was just 8 months after Judge Gorcyca's husband and former boss, the former Oakland County District Attorney David Gorcyca, was slapped with a million-dollar judgment in a defamation lawsuit, individually, because he brought unfounded criminal charges against a couple by the last name Wendrow (an unrelated case to the Tsimhoni kids' case), and just 2 weeks after the case settled - for 2 million dollars between the County and David Gorcyca.

David Gorcyca brought child rape charges for alleged rape of his autistic child against the father, Julian Wendrow, and "failure to protect" charges against the mother, Thal Wendrow, and then reportedly dropped the charges for lack of evidence, but reportedly by that time Julian Wendrow spent 80 days in jail and the family was separated for months.

Defamation lawsuits against prosecutors usually result in a dismissal for prosecutorial immunity.

Yet, David Gorcyca was sued for making defamatory comments about the case after he left the prosecutorial office in 2008.

The award by the federal jury included $250,000 to each member of the Wendrow family, including two children.

On June 1, 2015, that is ONE MONTH before Judge Lisa Gorcyca jailed the Tsimhoni kids when the oldest child refused to go to visitation with his father because his father abused his mother in front of him - the lawsuit against David Gorcyca and the county was reportedly settled for 2 million dollars, after a jury verdict of a million dollars against David Gorcyca personally, which certainly hurt financially both David Gorcyca and Lisa Gorcyca.

The defamation lawsuit was brought against Lisa Gorcyca's husband David Gorcyca after he reportedly made statements to the media in 2009, after the case against the Wendrows was dropped for lack of evidence, about the alleged validity of the case.

David Gorcyca also reportedly refused to apologize to the Wendrows, stated that he will apologize to them "over his dead body" and stood by validity of the charges - even after he dropped them for lack of evidence.

David Gorcyca's co-defendant was Deborah Carley who reportedly made defamatory claims that the charges against the Wendrows were valid in her judicial election campaign in 2012.

Deborah Carley lost that election for a judicial position, but was hired as Michigan Assistant Attorney General, and is now Chief of Children and Youth Services Division - despite her misconduct towards a teenager that led to a federal jury award against Deborah Carley for violation of the child's constitutional rights.

The Wendrow case gathered national attention, and it is obvious that, with the notoriety of David Gorcyca and everybody's knowledge that he is the husband of judge Lisa Gorcyca (see that he was present at the obviously pre-arranged standing ovation, complete with flowers and shaking hands in the receiving line of all the present lawyers with David Gorcyca while "honoring" his dishonorable judge-wife Lisa Gorcyca):

That this brown-nosing session was pre-arranged was clear from the fact that 90% of the 130 lawyers reportedly present and participating in the "event", left to "other hearings" after the standing ovation to Lisa Gorcyca, so these 117 busy lawyers (90%) did not just happen to walk by and drop in, they were likely invited there.

Moreover, approximately the same number of attorneys wrote a supporting letter against disciplining Judge Gorcyca when her disciplinary case was pending.

I doubt that any of these attorneys could miss the egregious misconduct of Lisa Gorcyca reported in the case, or the transparent rage that Lisa Gorcyca may have felt for the 7-year litigation against her husband brought by another couple, but based on David Gorcyca's misconduct in office, for improper comments regarding a dropped criminal child sexual abuse case.

Here is what Lisa Gorcyca, as a wife and a judge, went through with the lawsuit against her husband:

  • the publicity and indignity of a lawsuit charging misconduct against her husband (while she worked in his office as a prosecutor during the time wrongful charges alleged in the complaint were brought, and thus could be a witness in litigation) during her judicial election campaign;
  • 6 years of litigation,
  • loss of a prosecutorial position for her husband - David Gorcyca was still the local District Attorney when he was sued, and "did not seek re-election" after the lawsuit, see paragraph 15 from the lawsuit against David Gorcyca obtained from

  • destruction of reputation for her husband through national and international media coverage because her husband brought a criminal case based on the "facilitated communication" without first checking whether the child is able to so communicate,
  • the stress of testimony in front of a federal jury;
  • the stress and publicity of a federal jury trial;
  • a federal jury verdict of a million dollars against her husband (which bites their joint income and Judge Lisa Gorcyca's own financial well-being), and a settlement for 2 million dollars against the County and her husband only after they appealed, for which more legal fees were required;
  • a likely disciplinary proceeding commenced in federal court against David Gorcyca since shows that there is a "miscellaneous" case opened against David Gorcyca since 2011 (see the gap in the list on the right side in "civil results" below), which is not available to the public, and I will verify through a Freedom of Information Act request whether these proceedings are disciplinary in nature:

Litigation against David Gorcyca lasted from September 11, 2008 when Plaintiffs filed the case in the Oakland Circuit Court, 2 months before Lisa Gorcyca was elected a judge of that court and obviously during her election campaign (the case was removed by the defendants on October 10, 2008 to federal court, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, Case No. 5:08-cv-14324-JCO-MAR) to June 9, 2015, Docket. No. 478, when the case against David Gorcyca was settled and dismissed, see the full docket report of the case here.

June 9, 2015 was 2 weeks before Judge Lisa Gorcyca snapped against the Tsimhoni children on June 24, 2015.

Even though the couple, most likely, did not incur any attorney fees in litigation since, according to the docket report, the same attorneys represented David Gorcyca and the Oakland County,

indicating that those were attorneys, likely, hired by the County's insurance company (at taxpayers' expense) - the mental anguish and stress of the lawsuit could undermine anybody's judgment.

The lawsuit against Judge Gorcyca's husband contained the following allegation against the County investigator - with whom Judge Gorcyca, as the County prosecutor from 1993 to 2008 had to be acquainted and had to guide his actions legally in interrogations of suspects and witnesses:

Judge Gorcyca displayed the EXACT same techniques, manner of interrogation and attitude when she was cajoling, threatening and mocking the oldest Tsimhoni boy and refusing to believe him when he made statements that the judge, who obviously favored the father, did not want to hear.

Moreover, the lawsuit further stated that such tactics were contrary to the state child interview protocol:

Judge Gorcyca, who interrogated the Tsimhoni children, was surely trained - as a prosecutor of 15 years - in the protocol of interviewing children and surely knew, from that training, and from the lawsuit against her husband, that such methods of interrogation were inappropriate.

See the entirety of the complaint against Lisa Gorcyca's husband, his deputy and various law enforcement and school officials here.

At the time of described events Lisa Gorcyca was, and has been, a prosecutor in her husband's office for 15 years, and all the described techniques, including improper interrogation techniques of children, cajoling, mocking and intimidating children, were what she was familiar with, what she knew and employed in her own practice.

Moreover, the techniques of improper separation of the family was used against her husband's victims, and likely, at her husband's (her former boss's direction), as well as such methods of torture and intimidation like:

  • having a pre-trial detainee, presumed innocent of any crime, sleep on a concrete floor in a cell for 4 days straight; and
  • putting a pre-trial detainee, accused of a sex crime against a child, in general population of convicted criminals, without administrative separation or protection - in violation of all existing jail rules:

Such things are done most likely at the direction of the prosecutor (Lysa Gorcyca's husband, employer and policymaker at the time of events alleged in the lawsuit).

In fact, David Gorcyca WAS, in fact, sued as a policymaker - and Lisa Gorcyca, likely, knew the contents of that lawsuit by heart:

David Gorcyca did not relent and continued to make statements that the criminal proceedings brought against the Wendrows and the separation of their family was justified, and in May of 2010 (Docket No. 163) the Wendrows filed an amended complaint asserting new defamation claims against David Gorcyca, as well as invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, see the Amended Complaint here.

Remember, all those civil charges in the lawsuit, including the invasion of privacy and infliction of emotion distress upon two mentally disabled teenagers, was also against Deborah Carley who, despite a jury verdict on those claims against her, was hired by the Michigan's Attorney General's office and made a Chief of Children's and Youth Services Bureau.

This is the background.

This is the culture of the office where Lisa Gorcyca was bred, trained, raised and conditioned - as well as at home by her husband and boss David Gorcyca who, no doubt, discussed his policy considerations and his strategic moves with his wife and co-prosecutor.

Just simple reading of David Gorcyca and Lisa Gorcyca's biography together with the lawsuit against David Gorcyca, raises red flags all over the place as to Lisa Gorcyca's potential to snap against innocent litigants appearing in front of her, on issues similar to those in her husband's case - as it happened in the Tsimhoni's children's case.

Since Lisa Gorcyca was likely trained, conditioned for years for the sadistic attitude toward children and litigants who she targeted, she is not likely to change - and that's what the disciplinary commission had to take into account when deciding the manner of discipline.

Lisa Gorcyca's sadism displayed in proceedings against the children was not JUST the display of personal sadistic nature of Lisa Gorcyca (which is already a disqualification for judicial office, since it was used against children and the mother), but is likely the result of TRAINING she received in the prosecutorial office of her husband, and, since prosecutors are absolutely immune for anything they do "in office", that obvious training continued - and may be continuing at this time, because now #JudgeLisaGorcyca has absolute judicial immunity and can happily continue in her sadistic and unlawful ways - censure or no censure.

The only reason she was censured is international attention to the case and public outcry around the world.

Not all parents are willing to subject themselves and their family to a media frenzy, so, most likely, Gorcyca can continue in relative safety to do the very same thing she did to Tsimhoni children - or maybe, that is not the only case like that, but other parents are afraid to come forward, as it usually happens.

Judge Gorcyca should surely have been checked by the court administrators - and regularly - as to whether the ongoing lawsuit against her husband was affecting her emotionally and cause her to lash out against children who upset what Judge Gorcyca planned to do in the case.

Gorcyca HAD to be taken off the bench after what she has done, but she wasn't, even though the disciplinary court found egregious misconduct against her, see the decision here.

The connection with her husband's case and the way she snapped had to be noted by the disciplinary court - but it wasn't.

That means, there will be no further monitoring of Judge Lisa Gorcyca by the disciplinary system in the future either, and the Michigan State court administration will not be on the alert for more snapping from Lisa Gorcyca against innocent parents and their children because of her personal triggers, the way she did in the Tsimhoni case.

Apparently, Lisa Gorcyca snapped at the Tsimhoni teenage boy telling the truth she did not like because based on the truth of the Wendrow teenage boy that she and her husband did not like, her husband went through 6 years of litigation, and got a million-dollar jury verdict against him, which settled for 2 million dollars against him and the county just before Lisa Gorcyca snapped.

Enough reason for Judge Gorcyca to hate children telling the truth about misconduct of those in power over them - her husband in the Wendrow case, their own father who Lisa Gorcyca favored in the Tsimhoni case.  

So, the Michigan disciplinary authorities, whose hand was forced to even consider a disciplinary proceeding against Judge Lisa Gorcyca, left her on the bench, without further monitoring.

They left a time bomb on the bench.

And, based on Lisa Gorcyca's history, it is just a matter of time when that time bomb will go off.

And that is especially so that Lisa Gorcyca defiantly attended the flash-mob of lawyers appearing in front of her, in her own support, complete with bouquets of flowers and a standing ovation, and positioned her husband in the receiving line for handshakes with attorneys appearing in front of her - flying the discipline of censure into everybody's face and demonstrating that she does not give a damn about that discipline.

As I said, she is a time bomb waiting to happen - so litigants and attorneys who did not brown-nose her in letters of support and standing ovations should be prepared.

For a detailed analysis of what kind of misconduct Lisa Gorcyca was chargeable with, what the consequences could be, and how the disciplinary court addressed - or failed to address - the matter of misconduct and/or discipline for Judge Lisa Gorcyca, stay tuned.


  1. They're like the grifters of family and children's court, except it backfired on them. You actually have to have an upstanding and moral nature of which neither has.

  2. Well, it did not exactly backfire, not yet. Gorcyca was met in court recently with a standing ovation by local attorneys, after disciplinary proceedings were commenced, and now, when disciplinary authorities review the possibility of suspending her for 30 days, her attorney was arguing that her conduct caused more approval than outrage across the country.

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