When Judge Power said he didn’t care about their case, the attorney for the 81 Development Company asked the 13th Circuit Court to assign the case to a judge who would care, just a little bit. Visiting Judge George Mertz said that saying you don’t care about a case and that you’re going to “whack these things with a hammer” isn’t a sign of bias. The case stays with Judge Power.
The 81 Development Company owns land on Boursaw Road in Peninsula Township. They want to build a bunch of houses there for fun and profit. A bunch of people think the land should be part of a nature conservancy instead. Since these other people don’t own the property, they’re trying to derail the 81 Development Company’s plans through disapprovals and delays. Of course, none of these people own the land, but that isn’t stopping them from telling the 81 Development Company what they can do with it.
Peninsula Township officials say that there’s no conspiracy. Peninsula Township officials are mercurial. Sometimes they go nuts trying to shut property owners down for nothing, and other times they complete refuse to enforce their own regulations. The 81 Development Company appears to be on the wrong side of the thermometer.
Okay…back to this…
Judge George Mertz is judge of the 46th Circuit Court. He was assigned to look at the issue of Judge Power’s possible bias in the 81 Development Company / Peninsula Township case.
Mertz said that Power’s statements might be questionable out of context, but then he says, “To a certain extent…they’re a part of Judge Power’s style.”
What? It’s his style to be flippant and rude? Per the judicial canons, no judge should have a style that’s so off base that it creates statements that might be questionable out of context.
Mertz goes on to say that it’s okay for a judge to shut down arguments that they don’t want to hear, and a judge doesn’t have to sit there and listen for as long as an attorney wants to talk.
That’s true. Judges can shut down arguments that they don’t want to hear. What they can’t do is fail to show litigants courtesy and respect, and that’s what Judge Power did, and that’s what he has done so many times in other cases that he has a reputation for it (Schwander resentencing #6,000). Apparently, I’m not the only one who believes that Judge Power has a demeanor problem. Mertz says it’s just “a part of Judge Power’s style.”