On Monday, July 31, 2023, Honorable Paul J. Cusick of the Third Judicial Circuit Court in Michigan filed his proposed Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law before the State of Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. This filing pertains to his alleged misconduct.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Paul J. Cusick,” with case no. 104.

In the case under scrutiny, the Judicial Tenure Commission (JTC) sought to establish allegations against Judge Cusick. The key charges stemmed from his time as a prosecutor from 2011-2016. As lead attorney, Cusick oversaw investigations of three marijuana distribution operations and worked with the Western Wayne Narcotics Task Force.

In 2013, Cusick filed charges against Thomas McCully and others in his organization but did not charge McCully’s girlfriend Brandy Loggie despite her involvement. In 2014, McCully became a confidential informant (CI) in exchange for sentencing consideration. Loggie also became a CI to assist McCully.

The complaint focused on Cusick’s actions during Amanda Joslin’s 2015 preliminary exam. Loggie testified that she contacted police over public safety concerns about Joslin’s dispensary, but did not mention she was a CI working for McCully’s benefit. Cusick knew Loggie’s testimony was false but did not correct it.

Cusick also allegedly withheld evidence about McCully and Loggie’s CI involvement from defense attorneys. The complaint accuses Cusick of suborning perjury, obstructing cross-examination, withholding exculpatory evidence, and lying to the Commission about his knowledge and conduct.

On April 24, 2023, Cusick filed a reply brief supporting his motions for summary disposition before the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. The complaint alleged that Cusick made a deal with Fishman involving reduced sentencing for McCully in exchange for cooperation. However, the Commission changed its position when evidence contradicted the arrangement. Cusick argued that the Commission’s legal action lacked supporting case law and relied on semantic maneuvers to avoid weaknesses in its case.

Despite the Commission’s claims, Cusick maintained that no agreement for reduced sentencing was suggested to McCully. He also contended that the Commission erred in connecting McCully’s cooperation to an assumed agreement and relied on outdated and incomplete information. Cusick further disputed the Commission’s classification of McCully as a res gestae witness, pointing to legal precedent that disproved it. Based on a critical concession by the Commission and the failure of its arguments, Cusick argued for the case’s dismissal.

In the latest development, Cusick filed his proposed finding of facts and conclusions of law, which presented the account of events leading up to McCully’s arrest, highlighting the involvement of various individuals in the organization and the hiring of legal representation. The narrative detailed the role of Loggie in the organization and her subsequent arrest alongside McCully. Cusick also emphasized that the charges against McCully and others were not unilaterally determined by Judge Cusick but were the result of a collaborative decision-making process within the Attorney General’s office.

Cusick claimed that the commission’s charges hinged on Cusick’s “knowing,” “intentional,” and “purposeful” actions. According to Cusick, Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct specified that “knowingly” denoted actual knowledge, which the Commission hadn’t proven.

The proposed findings of fact states:

“While a person’s knowledge can be inferred from circumstances, the burden is on the JTC to show “actual knowledge of the fact in question.” The Commission can’t prove this. No witness testified that Cusick ever said that McCully had a deal or that he was crediting to McCully any CI work done by Loggie. To the contrary, Fishman confirms that neither he nor Cusick gave McCully any credit for Loggie’s CI work. And, Judge Groner’s statements that there was no deal in the sentencing transcript are unrebutted”

Cusick also argued that the commission failed to establish that Cusick had induced Loggie’s perjury or that Loggie had committed perjury. Loggie’s testimony was consistent and truthful, and Cusick’s actions didn’t lead to perjured statements.

The proposed findings of fact continue:

“The Commission can’t establish that Loggie committed perjury. And it certainly can’t establish that Cusick induced or procured any allegedly perjured testimony. The subornation of perjury-related charges should be dismissed.”

According to the Third Circuit Court Judge, there was also no evidence that he had offered McCully a reduced sentence in exchange for CI work. McCully’s decision to cooperate had been driven by his pursuit of mitigation, not his promises. McCully’s testimony in the Berry case hadn’t been central to the case’s development. Thus, Cusick hadn’t violated res gestae disclosure requirements.

In conclusion, Cusick contended that the JTC has not met the burden of proving the alleged violations by a preponderance of the evidence. The testimonies and facts presented suggest that Judge Cusick acted in accordance with his responsibilities and ethical obligations. Therefore, Cusick again asserts that all charges should be dismissed.

The conclusion states:

“You listened to Judge Cusick’s testimony for seven days. Judge Cusick’s candor was on full display, and you are in the position to evaluate Judge Cusick’s truthfulness and credibility as compared to the Commission’s main witnesses, Komorn and Calleja. On close review of the facts under the case law, Cusick committed no ethical violations. All charges should be dismissed.”

Judge Paul J. Cusick 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 original filing can be found here.