On Friday, September 23, 2022, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission filed a recommendation for discipline against Hon. Kahlilia Y. Davis, Judge of the 36th District Court, City of Detroit, Wayne County, for multiple acts of misconduct.

On March 6, 2020, Judge Davis was charged with seven counts of misconduct based on multiple violations of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct (canons), the Michigan Court Rules (MCR), and the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC). The alleged misconduct includes abuse of contempt of court powers, failing to conduct required evidentiary hearings and making premature judgments, obstruction of court administration, knowingly and intentionally disconnecting video recording equipment and conducting proceedings without an official record, making unauthorized recordings, and publishing court proceedings, handicapped parking space violation, and conduct, and making misrepresentations personally, as a judge, and to the commission.

On August 1, 2020, Cynthia Diane Stephens, the appointed Master, concluded that the Disciplinary Counsel has met its burden of proof on Counts I – VI. The Master, however, stated that the petitioner did not prove Count VII, adding that the petitioner failed to prove the allegation in any of claimed instances of misrepresentation.

According to the Commission, Judge Davis’ multiple and distinct acts of pervasive on-the-bench misconduct are “egregious in their own right.”

The recommendation reads:

“When Respondent was not prejudicing the actual administration of justice or missing work or incorrectly applying the law or disrespecting her colleagues and administrators or conducting unrecorded proceedings, Respondent tried using her status as a judge while out in the public for improper personal gain, including to illegally park in a handicap loading and unloading zone at her gym (blocking the driver’s side door of a disabled person’s car who was legally parked in a handicapped spot), while also displaying a Detroit police “official business” placard (falsely) and showing her judge’s badge to the responding officer when the citizen whose car was blocked rightfully complained.”

The Commission deemed Judge Davis incorrigible and incapable of conforming her behavior to the standards required of a judge and views the misconduct proven in Counts I through VI taken as a whole worthy of removal for the maintenance of the integrity of the judicial process.

The Commission also stated that Judge Davis made intentional and false representations, under oath, during the Commission’s investigation, and at the hearing.

The recommendation states:

“Dishonesty in these circumstances erodes the public’s confidence in the judiciary… and renders a judge “unfit to sit in judgment of others.” Further, although Respondent had no defense to and therefore did not contest the misconduct that the Master found, Respondent has shown no actual remorse for such admitted misconduct, and she has continued to deny and to minimize her misconduct with respect to intentionally disabling the video equipment and failing to make official records of her cases throughout these proceedings.”

The cumulative effect and pervasiveness of Judge Davis’ misconduct convinced the Commission that the judge should not hold judicial office and recommended that the Supreme Court remove and suspend her without pay for a period of six years.

The recommendation concluded:

“On the basis of her judicial misconduct, and in consideration of all the Brown factors and additional factors considered by the Supreme Court, the Commission unanimously recommends that Respondent be removed from office and thereafter suspended for six years without pay.”

The Judge earned a law degree from the University of Michigan.
The Judge is in Courtroom 337, 421 Madison Street in Detroit, and can be reached at 313-965-2293 https://www.36thdistrictcourt.org/about-us/judges/kahlilia-yvette-davis.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.