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Monday, January 19, 2015

Michigan flunks on financial disclosure for judges

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 12:08 PM

  • Via Flickr Creative Commons, user Robert Hruzek

Across the nation, a majority of states make it absurdly difficult for the layman to identify possible conflicts of interests when it comes to elections for judicial seats. During a lengthy investigation on the issue, the Center for Public Integrity says it found "nearly three dozen conflicts, questionable gifts and entanglements among top judges around the country."

In Michigan, it wasn't pretty: the state flunked on the Center's scorecard for judicial financial disclosure.

Michigan came in at 44th place, a dismal showing thanks to its one-page financial disclosure form that, the Center says, "does not seek any information about judges' investments or liabilities. Information about spouses or dependent children is not required either." 

The Center highlights the troubles of Former Justice Diane Hathaway, who, in 2013, was sentenced to 366 days in jail, after she pleaded guilty for "hiding her ownership of a home in Florida to reduce how much she had to pay a bank during a short sale of a Michigan home." The state, of course, doesn't ask whether judges hold any property. 

The rest of the report is available here

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