Burress fires back at Cavanaugh, saying she didn’t have authority to fire special prosecutor

Retired Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Daniel A. Burress

Retired Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Burress has fired back at Livingston County Probate Court Judge Miriam Cavanaugh, saying she didn’t have the authority to fire a special prosecutor looking into the case of Livingston County District Judge Theresa Brennan.

Burress filed a motion on June 26 to have Cavanaugh’s decision set aside, saying she was “without jurisdiction/authority to simply vacate the previous orders of a judge of equal or higher standing in the absence of court rule compliance.”

On June 4, Burress filed a request to seat a grand jury in the case, saying it was a disgrace that the situation had taken so long to be resolved. The case was assigned to Circuit Judge David Reader.

Reader appointed longtime Brennan foe Tom Kizer as special prosecutor on June 20, but on June 25, Cavanaugh overruled him and fired Kizer, acting in her capacity as the chief judge in Livingston County.

Cavanaugh’s decision is sure to rankle many in Livingston County, given the longtime relationship between Cavanaugh and Brennan. Cavanaugh endorsed Brennan for re-election in 2014, and was photographed at her election-night victory party.

District Court Judge Theresa Brennan

Brennan has been under fire for more than a year for her actions in the 2013 murder trial of Jerome Kowalski, after it was revealed that Brennan – the presiding judge in the case – was having an affair with the lead investigator in the case, Michigan State Police Trooper Sean Furlong. Brennan contends the affair didn’t begin until the trial was over.

Brennan is under investigation by the Judicial Tenure Commission in the case, and earlier this month, she was taken off the bench and placed on leave by Cavanaugh, after numerous officials called for her to resign. Brennan continues to be paid while on leave.

Burress’ strongly worded motion says “As Chief Judge this court has administrative duties as prescribed by court rules, but those duties do not include appellate jurisdiction over Judge Reader.”

You can read Burress’ motion here: BURRESS MOTION

About Buddy Moorehouse 190 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.