Lawyer's ex-lover cleared of judicial misconduct

DETROIT - A judge should not be punished for allegedly concealing her relationship with a lawyer now in prison for murder or for assigning him cases, the fact-finder in her misconduct case determined.

In a report released Friday, retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charles Levin said Warren District Judge Susan Chrzanowski did nothing wrong by naming Michael Fletcher to represent indigent defendants in her court. Levin also said Chrzanowski didn't intend to deceive police about her on-and-off romance with Fletcher.

Fletcher, 31, was sentenced to life in prison in July for the 1999 shooting death of his wife after a trial that included Chrzanowski's testimony about their affair.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission brought misconduct charges against Chrzanowski, 33, saying she had assigned dozens of cases to Fletcher during their 13-month relationship and had failed to notify opposing attorneys. The Supreme Court suspended her from her job with pay on July 28.

Levin wrote in the report released Friday that Chrzanowski could impartially hear the 55 cases she assigned to Fletcher and was not obliged to recuse herself.

The nine-member commission, made up of appointees, will decide whether to accept, reject or modify Levin's report and whether to ask the Supreme Court to reprimand, suspend or remove Chrzanowski.


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