On March 7, 2023, Hon. Paul J. Cusick, a judge of the Third Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan, filed a brief in support of his motion to amend the scheduling concerning his misconduct case.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Paul J. Cusick”, and was brought by the Disciplinary Counsel with case no. 104.

On November 23, 2022, a complaint was filed against the respondent for alleged misconduct of suborning perjury, obstructing/interfering with cross-examinations, and misrepresentation to the commission. Allegedly, while the respondent was employed by the Office of the Michigan Attorney General (AG) as an Assistant Attorney General (AAG) from 2011 to 2016, he violated the Michigan Constitution, Criminal Laws of Michigan, and Code of Judicial Conduct through the stated misconduct.

On January 4, 2023, the respondent filed his answer denying all the allegations and branded them as a product of a deeply flawed investigation rooted in wrong assumptions and bias.

The filing states:

“All of the allegations are denied as untrue. They are the product of a deeply flawed investigation that began with the wrong assumption that Judge Cusick engaged in misconduct and then proceeded by simply cherry-picking information that fit their biased notions. Further, evidence that was contrary to these notions was simply dismissed (the Kastigar Letter) or ignored (Ms. Loggie).”

On February 15, 2023, a first amended scheduling order was issued by the court in relation to the proceeding against the respondent. On the said order, it was stated that the parties have already completed the initial discovery exchange, the same will exchange initial witness and exhibit lists and that the hearing of the case shall take place at the 47th District Court at Farmington Hills, Michigan, and will begin on May 2, 2023.

The respondent, in response to the amended order, filed his request to amend the same on February 23, 2023. The respondent argued that this request is to ensure a fair proceeding and also to be wary of the potential non-compliance it might result in with the Supreme Court Internal Operating Procedures (IOP) that governs the JTC’s discovery obligations.

The Disciplinary counsel disagreed with the respondent’s request. In its answer, the former explained that MCR 9.232(A), which governs discovery in professional disciplinary matters, requires the parties to exchange discovery at least 21 days before a scheduled public hearing and to give supplemental notice to one another within five days after any additional witness or material has been identified and at least 10 days before a scheduled hearing, in contrast to the requests of the respondent. Moreover, the Disciplinary Counsel emphasized that they even already exceeded discovery requirements. It argued that the respondent improperly relies on the commission’s Internal Operating Procedures (IOP) to attempt to supersede the MCR 9.232(A).

The filing continues:

“The Respondent misrepresents the applicability of the 1OP rules and the obligations they impose on the disciplinary counsel. The 10Ps do not have the force of law, do not establish any official standards, and are not meant as administrative rules. Neither 1OP 207(B)-14 nor IOP 207(B)-15 make mandatory any conduct or practice regarding an investigation or discovery. 1OP 9.207(B)-14 calls for the Commission’s staff to utilize “reasonable efforts to obtain all information that appears useful to determining whether” misconduct exists.”

On March 7, 2023, the respondent filed a brief in support of his motion to amend the scheduling order. The respondent reiterated that his position is simple, “the Master should amend the current scheduling order to require the Disciplinary Counsel to produce its discovery materials before motion cutoff deadlines in this case”. Moreover, the respondent emphasized that the precise language of the IOPs was included in the motion.

The filing further states:

“They attempt to convert the plain wording of the court rule from “at least”, meaning it could be earlier, to “until” meaning not before. The Rule clearly allows the Master to set another date, so long as it is not less than 21 days prior to the hearing. IOP 9.207(B)-15 very neatly imposes on the JTC an obligation to produce discovery before the 21-day limit: “[A]s soon as reasonably feasible after the Commission files a public complaint, but no later than the time limit in MCR 9.232(A).” That is consistent with the Court Rules and does not supersede anything in MCR 9.232(A).”

The respondent ended his brief by stating that his request is to avoid surprises on the eve of the trial and to permit pre-trial motions to be filed and heard well in advance of the formal hearing. At the very least, the respondent stated that discovery should conclude before the non-dispositive motion cutoff deadline.

The respondent requested that the master grant his motion to amend the scheduling order.

The Judge earned a law degree from Wayne State University.

The Judge’s courtroom is located at 1441 St Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226, and can be reached at (313) 224-2461. His bio can be found on ballotpedia.com.

A copy of the filing can be found here.