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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Judge denies setting up 'sham residence'

Judge denies setting up 'sham residence'
The Grand Rapids Press -by Barton Deiters and Tom Rademacher - February 16, 2008

The Judicial Tenure Commission's formal complaint against Rockford District Judge Steven Servaas calls into question his residency and his conduct. One of the reasons cited for Servaas to be permanently removed from the county's 63rd District Court is because he lives outside of his district. "In essence, (living outside his judicial district) left Steven Servaas, private citizen, in the role of a former judge of the 63-1 District Court play-acting the role of judicial officer," wrote Paul Fischer, executive director of the commission, in a petition to the state Supreme Court. The complaint also says Servaas did not tell the commission of his new address and tried to create a "sham residence" in his jurisdiction. The complaint also contained allegations that Servaas created a doodle while on the bench resembling male genitalia and told a female court employee she didn't have a bust large enough to fill out the University of Michigan sweatshirt she was wearing.

Regarding his residency, Servaas contends state officials are misreading the law. The 63rd District Court is divided into northern and southern regions. Servaas is elected from the northern region, basically north of Four Mile Road; Sara Smolenski represents the south. While Servaas' principal residence is south of Four Mile Road -- on Honey Creek Avenue NE in Ada Township -- he contends he satisfies residency rules because he still lives within the 63rd District Court's larger boundary. He also said he maintains a house near Bostwick Lake that is his residence for voting purposes, within the district's northern region; he uses the Rockford courthouse to receive personal mail. As for the sexual harassment allegations, Servaas claims he was at an after-work party with female court employees, one of whom was wearing a University of Michigan sweatshirt.

He says she teased him with the words "Go Blue," knowing Servaas is a fan of Michigan State. The judge acknowledges that he responded on the order of "You either gotta get a bigger chest or go to Alma (College)." Servaas dismissed the comment as "my weak attempt at humor." After learning that the woman was offended, he left an apology on her answering machine, he said. "I never heard another thing" about it until the incident showed up in Fischer's complaint, Servaas said. Of the doodle, Servaas said, "I have no idea where this obscene doodle came from. I have no information on it. I didn't do it." The commission has ordered a public hearing to be held in West Michigan no later than March 31. A judge, referred to in this process as a "master," would be appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the proceedings. Fischer would act as a prosecutor, called an "examiner." Both sides would present arguments. The master decides if Servaas is guilty or not guilty. If guilty, the master could order sanctions ranging from censure to permanent removal from the bench.


Anonymous said...

If judges (or anyone else, for that matter) think they can get away with crap like this because there's no oversight (or they have friends in the right places), then our biggest problem is the LACK OF OVERSIGHT. No ethics, no oversight-- no law and order.

Anonymous said...

Why do judges continue to go to after work parties with employees they know, but not well, and drink like animals and of course are FORCED to talk dirty( probably things they wanted to say at the job , anyway) to get the women to like them...however that may be...and then end up saying something that is always... SO WRONG!! Judges,just don't go out with employees of the opposite sex!

Anonymous said...

screw this son of a bitch.....this bastard belongs in JAIL

Anonymous said...

this Judges is a "SHAM"

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