Judge Haley Is White Kwame Kilpatrick. He’s An Example Of Corruption & Incompetency In Michigan

It's pretty hard to be deemed incompetent and crooked but 86th District Court Judge Michael Haley pulled it off
It’s pretty hard to match Kwame Kilpatrick’s level incompetency and corruption but 86th District Court Judge Michael Haley pulls it off.

86th District Court Judge Michael Haley has a past that would make a sane person scratch their head and wonder how anyone in the jurisdiction of the 86th District Court would ever vote for someone this corrupt and incompetent.

Northern Michigan is the only place in the free world where Nazis get public proclamations from elected officials.

In other words, it’s a great place if David Lynch ever decided to do a re-visioning of Green Acres.

86th District Judge Michael Haley has a past that would make a sane person scratch their head. He’s also an example of what happens when people don’t vote in judicial races.

Haley has a history that demonstrated he was incompetent as a lawyer let alone being a judge. He also has no problem disrespecting the office to which he was elected. He also has no problem acting like disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Judge Michael Haley Took What Appeared To Be A Bribe In Open Court

In 2003, Haley while sitting on the bench in an open courtroom accepted tickets to a University of Michigan football game from attorney Richard Benedict.

Benedict is a former judge. He was pleading a case for a woman who lost control of her car. Thus, destroying a sign in front of the shop of a local Florist.

After Benedict and the Prosecutor couldn’t reach an agreement over restitution, Benedict then placed two University of Michigan football tickets on the bench.

Benedict and Judge Haley engaged in the following verbal exchange:

Mr. Benedict: You got to promise to go.

The Court: It’s a week from Saturday?

Mr. Benedict: No, Saturday.

The Court: This Saturday. Hmm, I could go.

Mr. Benedict: Promise.

The Court: I promise to go? I’ve got to make a phone call. Today’s Tuesday, where are you tomorrow?

Mr. Benedict: The office. No, I’m in Kalkaska.  If you want it, take it.

The Court: Okay. If there’s anybody else that-

Mr. Benedict: When you said you were interested, I indicated that I still have to ask another. If you can’t go, somebody’s got to go.

The Court: I’ll make sure somebody goes and that you get paid.

Mr. Benedict: I don’t need to get paid.

The Court: Okay. All right.

Mr. Benedict: I need to make sure there’s [sic] two people sitting in the seats.

Judge Michael Haley Tried To Cover Up What Looked Like A Bribe

I wish I was making up this conversation up. However, I’m not. After all, it really does sound like a cheesy pickup scene from a trashy gay porno flick.  This really did happen and it was taken directly from the Michigan Supreme Court ruling censuring Haley.

Yes, Judge Haley accepted the tickets.  He then reconsidered his earlier decision to postpone sentencing.

Haley then sentenced the defendant to a $100 fine, $250 in court costs, a $40 state fee, an undetermined amount of restitution, and six months of probation. He later determined restitution to be $4,116.35, which was the full amount sought by the victim and the prosecutor.

Haley Tried To Bully A Witness

This incident was witnessed by Antrim County Deputy Sheriff Terry Skurnit. Skurnit immediately reported the incident to his superiors.  Judge Michael Haley immediately banned Deputy Skurnit from his courtroom. Deputy Skurnit then filed a request for an investigation with the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC). JTC was nice enough to send me the transcript of the conversation.

The JTC filed a two-count complaint against Judge Haley on November 18, 2004, as a result of the investigation.

Count one alleged that Judge Haley engaged in impropriety or created an appearance of impropriety by accepting the football tickets. Count two alleged that “Judge Haley misrepresented facts during the investigation and demonstrated a lack of candor in the course of the investigation.”

Judge Michael Haley apparently lied to the JTC about sending a letter to Deputy Skurit’s supervisor. He later told the Traverse City Record-Eagle on December 18, 2004, that it was a “filing error.”

He also blamed his secretary’s inability to find the letter. When the scandal would not die, Haley was again quoted in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on April 8, 2005. He publicly labeling Deputy Skurit as a “Sociopath” and claimed he was considering suing Skurit for slander.

The JTC Censured Judge Michael Haley

On July 11, 2005, the JTC decided to hold a public hearing and issued a written opinion. They recommended the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censure Judge Haley.

The JTC concluded that respondent’s acceptance of the football tickets constituted:

(1) Misconduct in office, as defined by the Michigan Constitution of 1963, as amended, Article 6, Section 30 and MCR 9.205;

(2) Conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice, as defined by the Michigan Constitution of 1963, as amended, Article 6, Section 30, and MCR 9.205;

(3) Failure to establish, maintain, enforce, and personally observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved, contrary to the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 1;

(4) Irresponsible or improper conduct that erodes public confidence in the judiciary, in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2A;

(5) Conduct involving impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, 2A;

(6) Failure to conduct oneself at all times in a manner that would enhance the public’s confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, contrary to the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2B;

(7) Improper acceptance of a gift from a donor whose interests have come or are likely to come before you, contrary to Canon 5C(4)(c);

(8) Conduct that exposes the legal profession or the courts to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach, in violation of MCR 9.104(A)(2); and

(9) Conduct that is contrary to justice, ethics, honesty or good morals, in violation of MCR 9.104(A)(3).

Judge Michael Haley Alleged The Tickets Were A Gift Not A Bribe

Judge Haley in his defense claimed that he had not engaged in misconduct. He claimed his actions fell within exceptions to the general prohibition of accepting gifts.  The exception Judge Haley is referring to is a rule that states a judge or a family member residing in the judge’s household may accept gifts that would be considered ordinary social hospitality.

Judge Haley’s defense fell on deaf ears. The JTC rejected his claim and concluded the football tickets did not constitute “ordinary social hospitality.”

The JTC ruled the gift was not offered by a disinterested third party. The commission then recommended Public Censure.

Judge Haley then whined and complained that his censure was unfair. He claimed the Court has only imposed public censure only in cases of intentional conduct, intentional retaliation, crimes of violence, or physical misconduct. Haley claimed these criteria do not apply to him. The Michigan Supreme Court disagreed. They claimed this is not true and issued the Public Censure.  According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle on October 12, 2005, Haley then tried to “argue that the JTC proceedings “violated” his due process rights.”

The Michigan Supreme Court was not impressed with Judge Haley’s claims of victimization and on July 31, 2006, they publicly censured him.

Haley then stuck Northern Michigan taxpayers with his $75,000 legal bill.

Judge Haley’s Past As An Incompetent Lawyer Comes Back To Haunt Him

The dust finally began to settle on this sordid tale of morality and judicial ethics when a ghost emerged from Judge Haley’s past. This ghost questioned his competency as an attorney.

In December of 2006, one of his former clients from the 1980s emerged from prison. He asked a judge in Grand Traverse County to rehear his case.

In 1984, Haley represented Jim Gainforth. Gainforth was accused of murdering a gas station clerk James Burton with an M-16 during a robbery.  Gainforth proclaimed his innocence while sitting in prison for 22 years.

Wrongfully Accused Man Shows Michael Haley Was a Horrible Lawyer

His new lawyer, Val Newman claimed the only thing that tied Gainforth to the murder was the testimony of Doug Hutchinson. Hutchinson claimed he and Gainforth hung out at the station. They left and waited for Burton to come outside. That is when Hutchinson said he saw Gainforth shoot Burton.  Hutchinson then went inside and grabbed $200 out of the cash register and fled.

As it turns out, there are two problems with this claim. First, Gainforth was discharged from the U.S. Army 18 months earlier. Gainforth has a blind spot in his eye that prevented him from being able to sight an M-16.  Second, the witnesses say the man hanging out at the gas station with Gainforth did not match Hutchinson’s description.

These two key pieces of evidence were not brought up as part of Gainforth’s defense in 1985.  Newman claimed this constituted “inadequate legal representation” by Haley. Therefore, Gainforth had grounds for an appeal.

Haley Claimed Ignorance

As a witness, Haley claimed he didn’t know anything about Gainforth’s military discharge or his bad eyesight. Anne Stanton wrote in the December 28, 2006 edition of the Northern Express,

“Newman presented a report in which Gainforth told a police officer that he was discharged from the Army because he couldn’t qualify with his M-16. Haley said he couldn’t remember seeing it, although he acknowledged all the reports were available to him.  “I can only assume there was a good reason (not to bring up his vision difficulties),… because his eyesight difficulties would have been great stuff to use. But to do a laundry list defense—‘Folks he really wasn’t there, but if he was there, his eyesight was lousy.’ I’m not sure that would have worked.”

Newman replied: “How ‘bout, ‘Folks, you guys can’t believe Doug Hutchinson because he just told a bald-faced lie.”

Circuit Judge Tom Power then granted Gainforth a new hearing based on the evidence Haley never presented in 1985.

Judge Haley Also Doesn’t Understand Mortgage Lending 101

Haley also hears eviction hearings as District Court judge. On July 9, 2010, he heard the case of Deutsche Bank National Trust as Trustee v. Schafer.  The Schafers’ hearing that day was to ask the judge for a jury trial which they are allowed under Michigan law.

This was an interesting case because the Schafers maintained that Deutsche Bank National Trust (Deutsche Bank) didn’t own their mortgage. Nor was Deutsche Bank the holder of the note. The Schafers were correct.  I know because I did the investigation. Deutsche Bank was acting as a Trustee for an asset-backed security trust named IMPAC SAC 2004-3 who owned the note.

The first issue that Judge Haley didn’t seem to notice or care about was that Deutsche Bank’s attorney, Trott and Trott filed the eviction complaint naming Deutsche Bank as a “Trustee” for an unnamed party.

The second issue is more serious. Haley probably would have been forced to make another trip to Lansing to again meet with the Judicial Tenure Commission if the Schafers pursued in appeal. Unfortunately, the Schafers didn’t have the financial capability to keep fighting their case. They moved out of their home.

Haley Makes Up His Own Rules

During the hearing, Haley admitted multiple times he was not in possession of the file. That’s right, Haley adjudicated a hearing without even looking the case. If that wasn’t bad enough, Haley then allowed the attorney for Trott & Trott immediate possession of the property without a hearing for summary disposition. This violates Michigan Court Rules.

When the Schafers objected, Haley then looked at Trott & Trott’s attorney, Charles Milne and said, “So if you want to proceed with a Motion for Summary Disposition, Mr. Milne, I’ll entertain that on the briefs.”

The Schafers protested. Motions for Summary Disposition is an evidentiary type hearing which requires a separate hearing. Michigan Court Rules are very specific about this.  Rule 2.116 (B)(2) states:

A motion under this rule may be filed at any time consistent with subrule (D) and subrule (G)(1), but the hearing on a motion brought by a party asserting a claim shall not take place until at least 28 days after the opposing party was served with the pleading stating the claim.

Haley then allowed Trott & Trott a verbal Motion for Summary Judgment claiming he could rule on it under Rule 2.116(I) which reads:

If the pleadings show that a party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, or if the affidavits or other proofs show that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the court shall render judgment without delay.

He then granted Milne the Motion for Summary Judgment and immediate possession of the Schafer’s house.

Haley ruled on this without reading the file or examining any evidence. He based it solely on hearsay evidence from Trott & Trott’s attorney Charles Milne.

Judge Michael Haley Is A Perfect Example Of The Pandemic Of Corruption And Incompetence Plaguing The Michigan Judicial System

Michael Haley is an example of the problems facing homeowners who fight their foreclosures in rural communities.  He’s got a big ego and thinks he can do whatever he wants because he wears a black robe regardless of any ethics or court rules.

Kwame Kilpatrick used to think the same thing when he sat at the Mayor’s desk on the 11th Floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building in Detroit and we all know how that ended up.

Unfortunately, Michigan can’t afford any more Kwame Kilpatricks and it especially can’t afford a white wannabe from Northern Michigan.

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