Brennan resigns from state association she was set to lead

Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan
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Embattled 53rd District Court Judge Theresa Brennan, currently under investigation by the Michigan State Police, resigned from the Michigan District Judges Association, an organization of which she was set to become the next president.

According to reports, Brennan is currently president-elect of the association, which promotes and supports activities to improve and maintain sound and efficient administration of justice in district courts.

Brennan has been under fire since 2013, when she presided over the double murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, who was found guilty of murdering his brother and sister-in-law. Brennan had an affair with the lead investigator in the case, Michigan State Police Lt. Sean Furlong, which Brennan and Furlong said didn’t start until after the murder trial; however, phone records later showed that the two spoke on the phone nearly 40 times between the start of the trial and sentencing.

Michigan State Police officers burst into Brennan’s courtroom in May 2017 while it was in session, and seized all the computers and other items. No charges have been brought.

Brennan’s caseload was removed and reassigned in mid-June. In reports, Livingston County Courts Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh said the judges consulted and then made the unusual move in part to assure the community that their elected judges are “beyond reproach.”

Brennan’s essential booting from the bench came just one day after the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint against her after it had investigated her conduct for about a year. It also came just a few days after retired Circuit Court Judge Daniel A. Burress filed a petition for a grand jury investigation of her, and amid a slew of calls for her resignation from state Sen. Joe Hune, state Rep. Lana Theis, state Rep. Hank Vaupel, and a majority of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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