On Monday, July 31, 2023, the State of Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission issued the Disciplinary Counsel’s proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law for the case of Hon. Paul J. Cusick, a Third Circuit Court Judge from Detroit, Michigan.

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

The charges cited the Michigan Constitution Article 6, Section 30, MCR 9.104(1), 9.103(A),  9.104(2), 9.104(3),  9.104(4), 9.104(5); Criminal Laws of the State of Michigan, 750.424 and 750. 505; Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 2(A) and MCJCC 2(B); Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, 3.3, 3.8, 8.4(a), 8.4(b), 8.4 (c) which state:

Conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Conduct in violation of the standards imposed on members of the bar as a condition of the privilege to the practice of law.

Conduct that exposed the legal profession or the courts to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach.

Conduct that was contrary to justice, ethics, honesty, or good morals.

Conduct that violated the standards or rules of professional responsibility adopted by the Supreme Court.

Prohibits a lawyer from committing misconduct in office.

Prohibits a lawyer from suborning perjury.

Prohibits a lawyer from committing misconduct in office.

Requires a prosecuting attorney to disclose and provide the defense with names of res gestae witnesses.

Conduct that is irresponsible and/or improper.

Conduct that undermines public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.

Prohibits a lawyer from providing false statements of material fact or law to a tribunal and requires a  lawyer to correct false statements of material fact previously provided to a tribunal.

Requires a prosecuting attorney to make “timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the degree of the offense.

Prohibits conduct that violates or attempts to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another.

Prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or violation of the criminal law, where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.

Prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

On November 23, 2022, a complaint was filed against Hon. Cusick for alleged conduct of suborning perjury, obstructing/interfering with cross-examinations, and misrepresentation to the commission. He served as an Assistant Attorney General (AAG) in the Office of the Michigan Attorney General (AG) between 2011 and 2016. During his tenure at the office, the respondent took on the role of the “lead attorney” in numerous investigations and prosecutions. Allegedly, the respondent is accused of multiple breaches of the Rules of Professional Conduct across various counts.

Following the complaint, Disciplinary Counsel’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law were issued, providing a detailed account of the proceedings against Judge Cusick, including the appointment of a master to evaluate his conduct objectively and the standard of proof used in judicial discipline cases. While the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law do not address sanctions, they provide a comprehensive overview of the allegations against Judge Cusick and the evidence presented during the public hearing.

According to the proposed findings of fact, the respondent’s transgressions span five main categories: firstly, knowingly permitting false testimony, failing to rectify it, and letting the court base decisions on such testimony; secondly, presenting a witness with a history of false testimony in a circuit court hearing, relying on their testimony in legal submissions, and urging the court’s reliance on it; thirdly, deliberately withholding crucial exculpatory information and documents from the defense and successor assistant attorney general; fourthly, obstructing the defense attorney’s efforts in cross-examination during separate court proceedings; and fifthly, offering material misrepresentations to the commission during its inquiry and the public hearing before the master.

The evidence presented in the public hearing strongly supports the allegations in the complaint, showing that the respondent played a key role in the McCully investigation and was well aware of Thomas McCully and Brandy Loggie’s involvement in a significant interstate marijuana trafficking operation. After charging McCully with multiple felonies, the respondent facilitated McCully becoming a confidential informant (CI) to collaborate with the Task Force for potential sentence mitigation. Additionally, an agreement was endorsed for Loggie to work with the Task Force as a CI, seeking further sentence mitigation for McCully.

The proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law states:

“The evidence presented at the public hearing proved that respondent knowingly stood silent while Loggie provided false, inaccurate, and misleading testimony. Respondent knew that Loggie’s preliminary examination testimony regarding the circumstances under which she became a CI was false, inaccurate, incomplete, and materially misleading. He also knowingly obstructed the defense counsel’s attempts on cross-examination to expose Loggie’s false, inaccurate, or misleading testimony and to learn the true motive for Loggie’s involvement with the police. Respondent knowingly relied on Loggie’s testimony in his bind over arguments before District Judge Gerou and in pleadings and arguments before Circuit Judge Kenny. Respondent also subpoenaed and presented Loggie at a circuit court evidentiary hearing knowing that the testimony she had provided at the district court preliminary examination was false, and without revealing that fact to the court or opposing counsel .”

The proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law continue:

“Count 3 charges respondent with withholding information and evidence in Joslin and Berry from defense counsel and from Dianna Collins, his successor at the AG’s Office, in violation of the law and his ethical duties as an attorney, a prosecutor, and a judge. The complaint alleges that McCully’s and Loggie’s cooperation with the police, which was motivated by their desire to mitigate McCully’s pending sentence, was information that should have been provided to the defense, as well as to the prosecutor who succeeded the respondent in prosecuting those cases. The complaint further alleges that other relevant discovery material was not turned over to the defense in the Joslin and Berry cases nor was it disclosed to AAG Collins.”

The proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law further states:

“Count IV alleges that, prior to the Berry preliminary examination, respondent failed to disclose that McCully was a res gestae witness, that he had worked with the police in exchange for a sentencing benefit, and that during the Berry investigation, he had a pending forfeiture matter. (FC, ¶¶ 146, 147 ). Count IV also alleges that on April 7, 2016, preliminary examination in Berry, the respondent limited his questions and intentionally interfered with and obstructed Komorn’s attempts to discover the identity and motivation of the CI (McCully), knowing that Komorn was entitled to this information under MCL 767.40a. (FC, ¶¶ 149, 150 ). The evidence presented at the public hearing established these allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.

The proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law additionally note:

“It is alleged that in his May 10, 2021 answers to the Commission’s request for comments, in response to question #86(d), the respondent falsely stated that McCully’s sentence was “in no way contingent on Ms. Loggie’s cooperation or testimony.” In denying that this representation was false, respondent stated in his Answer that McCully’s sentence “was based on his actions and his actions alone.” The evidence presented at the formal hearing established that the respondent’s answers – in his request for comments and in his Answer to the Formal Complaint – were false”

According to the filing, the evidence presented across these five counts has convincingly showcased that Cusick was involved in inappropriate behavior, as outlined in the complaint. Moreover, the evidence reveals that the respondent not only engaged in the alleged misconduct but also provided inaccurate information to the commission and during his testimony before the master.

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 original filing can be found here.