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In re Iddings

Supreme Court of Michigan

July 6, 2017

In re: GREGG P. IDDINGS, JUDGE LENAWEE COUNTY PROBATE COURT BEFORE THE JUDICIAL TENURE COMMISSION

         Formal Complaint Nos.2016-022112, 2016-022247

          Stephen J. Markman, Chief Justice Brian K. Zahra Bridget M. McCormack David F. Viviano Richard H. Bernstein Joan L. Larsen Kurtis T. Wilder, Justices

          ORDER

         On December 12, 2016, the Judicial Tenure Commission issued a Decision and Recommendation to which the respondent, Honorable Gregg P. Iddings, Lenawee County Probate Court Judge, consented. It was accompanied by a settlement agreement, in which the respondent waived his rights, stipulated to findings of fact and conclusions of law, and consented to a sanction of a public censure and a 60-day suspension without pay. On February 3, 2017, this Court entered an order remanding the matter to the Commission for further explication, retaining jurisdiction. The Commission filed a supplemental report under seal on February 28, 2017. The respondent filed a motion to expand the record on May 12, 2017. On June 5, 2017, this Court entered an order under seal granting the motion to expand the record, and rejecting the order of discipline recommended by the Commission as being insufficient, given the facts stated in the stipulation and supplemental report. The order provided that the Court would impose a six-month suspension without pay on July 5, 2017, unless, pursuant to MCR 9.225, the respondent withdrew his consent to discipline by July 3, 2017. The respondent has not withdrawn his consent.

         In resolving this matter, we are mindful of the standards set forth in In re Brown, 461 Mich. 1291, 1292-1293 (2000):

Everything else being equal:
(1)misconduct that is part of a pattern or practice is more serious than an isolated instance of misconduct;
(2) misconduct on the bench is usually more serious than the same misconduct off the bench;
(3)misconduct that is prejudicial to the actual administration of justice is more serious than misconduct that is prejudicial only to the appearance of propriety;
(4)misconduct that does not implicate the actual administration of justice, or its appearance of impropriety, is less serious than misconduct that does;
(5) misconduct that occurs spontaneously is less serious than misconduct that is premeditated or deliberated;
(6)misconduct that undermines the ability of the justice system to discover the truth of what occurred in a legal controversy, or to reach the most just result in such a case, is more serious than misconduct that merely delays such discovery; [and]
(7)misconduct that involves the unequal application of justice on the basis of such considerations as race, color, ethnic background, gender, or religion [is] more serious than breaches of justice that do not disparage the integrity of the system on the basis of a class of citizenship.

         In the present case, those standards are being applied in the context of the following stipulated findings of fact of the Judicial Tenure Commission, which, following our de novo review, we adopt as our own:

1. Ms. [*****][1] was Respondent's judicial secretary from July 2010 to November 2015.
2. Between 2012 and 2015, Respondent engaged in a series of acts that constituted sexual harassment of Ms. [*****].
3.Respondent's conduct included,
a. Sending after-hour[s] text messages to Ms. [*****], in which he discussed his marital problems and his personal feelings.
b. Making an offer to purchase expensive items for Ms. [*****] as Christmas gifts and inviting her to Rhianna/Eminem ...

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