Very Bad Judgment Is Not A Bar To Judicial Tenure In The Peoples Republic Of Ann Arbor
A Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Court judge is demonstrating the supreme
impunity immunity enjoyed by the liberal elites in a modern one party state: Ann Arbor. Washtenaw County Trial Judge Carol A. Kuhnke has just dodged all legal consequences for possessing prescription narcotics not prescribed to her; narcotics which were used by her adopted son in his fatal overdose last year.
At this point, you probably have some sympathy for Judge Kuhnke. Opioid addiction is sweeping our country and there are a lot of tragedies occurring which parents simply cannot prevent. But there are twists to Judge Kuhnke’s story which sets it far apart from the typical overdose tragedy.
Judge Kuhnke’s curious story began on November 25th of last year when her son was found dead from oxycodone toxicity, but only got its first airing in the press yesterday. Young John Kuhnke allegedly broke into a locked tool chest where Judge Kuhnke was storing both drugs and alcohol. The drugs included oxycodone, hydrocodone, trazodone, dexmethylphenidate, and tramadol. All nasty items. These drugs were originally prescribed to John Kuhnke, Judge Kuhnke, her wife Elizabeth Janovic, Janovic’s parents, and the Kuhnke/Janovic’s next door neighbor. John Kuhnke is alleged to have stolen ten prescription pill vials from the broken tool chest and taken some of the next door neighbor’s oxycodone pills to a friend’s house where he overdosed and died.
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Detective Craig Raisanen requested warrant for Judge Kuhnke and her wife Elizabeth Janovic from the Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office for possession of up to 25 grams of Schedule II narcotics prescribed in another person’s name [MCL 333.7403(2)(a)(v)]. The Washtenaw County Prosecutor asked AG Schuette to appoint a special prosecutor and that special prosecutor then decided that charges “would not be appropriate”. The Special Prosecutor appointed was Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt, who happens to serve in the county immediately north of Washtenaw. He fobbed the case off on the Judicial Tenure Commission, and it now appears that they too will take no action.
A lurid case like this would usually be splashed all over the media by the time a special prosecutor was appointed, but not this case. The lid was firmly clamped down until this sad tale intruded into the aftermath of an altogether separate, very grim murder case. Keandre Duff of Ypsilanti was shot in the back of the head at a block party in Ypsilanti during 2015. Tariq Makel Jackson of Ypsilanti Township got a sweet plea deal – for a murder trigger man – in February, pleading guilty to second-degree murder, one count of armed robbery, four weapons charges and 12 counts of perjury. Jackson and Duff are/were alleged to be members of rival gangs in Ypsilanti, a Washtenaw County community now exploring the depths of Chicago.
Judge Kuhnke is refusing to recuse herself in a closely related case, in which Washtenaw County probation officer Sarah Stein is accused of lying to Detective Raisanen during the course of his investigation into the Duff murder. Tariq Jackson appears to have been one of Stein’s ‘clients’, whom she concealed from Detective Raisanen even after Jackson admitted his role in the Duff murder to Stein. Sara Stein is ‘acquainted’ with Judge Kuhnke, the same Judge against whom Detective Raisanen sent up narcotics charges.
The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office filed motions last month to disqualify Judge Kuhnke. Judge Kuhnke issued a ruling on March 7th denying the motion to disqualify herself from the Stein case. Her opinion just happened to note that the Judicial Tenure Commission informed Judge Kuhnke on February 23rd that it would not be taking any action in her narcotics possession matter.
Suffice it to say, Detective Raisanen is screwed when he testifies against ‘acquaintance’ Stein. This has the makings of yet another legal fix.
This is a very long story and you probably should go to yesterday’s MLive write up and read the whole thing. But here are some takeaways:
- No one has demanded that Judge Kuhnke explain why she was storing dangerous drugs in a flimsy tool chest, in a home with a teenager who had a scorching drug problem. This is judgment befitting a Judge?
- Judge Kuhnke and her wife have not explained why they accepted narcotics from their next door neighbor and Janovic’s parents for storage. The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office regularly accepts unneeded prescription medications for destruction. Judge Kuhnke sees how many Sheriff’s Deputies at work, every day? So who were the drugs really for? Had to be some reason for stockpiling them.
- Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt has to explain why charges were not appropriate. People driving drunk with children in their car are routinely charged with ‘child abuse’ in Michigan. Is it only child abuse when your child survives reckless bad judgment? It is entirely reasonable to assume that John Kuhnke’s drug abuse began before his 16th birthday.
- Michigan Attorney General Schuette should explain how the prosecutor from an adjacent county is an appropriate special prosecutor for a judge. The legal communities in adjacent counties are pretty close knit by a lot of mutual cases, even when their politics diverge. How independent should a special prosecutor be?
It is fairly apparent that Judge Kuhnke is getting a pass in this case because she is a liberal darling. She is also very adept at manipulating the law from the bench, as she did in the MGO v. AAPS firearms case. Her contortionist ruling in that case alone endeared her to the left wing establishment in Washtenaw County. A nolle prosequi for narcotics possession sets her far apart from the average Michigander, who would get hard time for the same antics.
According to the MDoC 2015 Statistical Report (latest year available), 196 other Michiganders were not as fortunate as the Honorable Judge Kuhnke and got hard prison time in 2015 for violating MCL 333.7403(2)(a)(v) (page B-34). Each of those 196 inmates and their families will be comforted to know that their real offense was not holding a judgeship, the Michigan version of a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free Card’.
It is good to be the Michigan elite. Michigan laws are only for the ruled, not the rulers…..