Lansing Judge May Be Punished After Sending Children to Juvenile Detention
The Michigan Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether or not to issue a 30-day suspension to a Detroit judge who, during a family law case, ordered three siblings to juvenile detention. The crime? Failing to visit their father.
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, which acts as a watch over judges, will give its arguments to the Supreme Court regarding the case. The judge in question, Judge Lisa Gorcyca, is requesting that the court dismiss the case or order nothing more than a reprimand.
Gorcyca began making headlines back in 2015 when she held three children in contempt of court and subsequently sentenced them to a juvenile detention center for two weeks. The incident stemmed from a controversial divorce between parents Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni and Omer Tsimhoni. Gorcyca blamed the mother of the three children for keeping them from their father.
Approximately 11% of custody cases are decided during mediation, but these parents had been involved in an ongoing divorce battle for years. They married back in 1995 and have since made dozens of appearances in court to dispute matters of parenting time, schooling, therapy, and more. Unfortunately, the couple was never able to compromise.
At a hearing in 2015, Judge Gorcyca told the three children, then aged 9, 10, and 15, that the father had "gone through hoops" to develop a relationship with them in spite of ongoing issues with their mother. The judge demanded the children try to make an effort to reach out to their father. When the father suggested they have lunch together and the children refused, the three of them were taken into custody and sent to Children's Village.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. One day you can watch this video and realize that you two have been brainwashed… This is not normal behavior," Gorcyca said during the hearing in 2015. "No adult in this courtroom, except one, thinks this is normal. Every single adult in this courtroom thinks you have been brainwashed.”
Gorcyca's legal support argues that her actions may have been stern and harsh but do not represent any misconduct. They claim her sentencing came after repeated attempts to get the children to spend time with their father.
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