Michigan Judge Lisa Gorcyca gets standing ovation

Lawyers packed Judge Gorcyca's chambers and gave her a standing ovation a week after a judge slapped her down and said she didn't apply contempt of court properly to three children.


CHICAGO, July 8, 2016 – While Judge Daniel Ryan issued a scathing indictment of Judge Lisa Gorcyca’s legal temperament and knowledge, attorneys who go in front of her still treat her with deference.

Just a day after the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission censured Gorcyca, she was applauded in her courtroom.

According to one court-watcher who was present, “I was in Gorcyca’s courtroom this morning (her first day back). It was packed…and loud. Never saw it like that before. Attorneys everywhere…even filling the juror box and standing because seats full. Then, when they said, “All rise for Judge Gorcyca,”  huge eruption of applause. She had a bouquet of flowers. She thanked them and then told them to get back to their hearings. They laughed. Then 90 percent of them left and as they left, shook David Gorcyca’s hand at the door like a receiving line.”

The week before, Judge Daniel Ryan found that Gorcyca had violated several canons of judicial ethics.

Specifically, Ryan found that Gorcyca did not apply civil contempt properly,  “It is a disciplinary action which stands for the singular proposition that if a judge is going to use the inherent power of contempt, the ultimate ‘tool in the tool box’ after years of ‘frustration,’ the judge may wish to consult the owner’s manual to make sure that she or he is using the tool properly before employing one of the 34 penultimate tools of inherent judicial power, a contempt finding, to deprive any individual, or children in this case, of their liberty,”

This is not the first time members of the legal profession, specifically those who are likely to practice in front of Gorcyca, have come to her defense after she became the subject of international derision for sentencing the three Tsimhoni kids to juvenile hall for not having lunch with their father.

Two hundred lawyers wrote an open letter in her support on the eve of the MJTC.

“The facts of the Tsimhoni case itself have been skewed, and the judge’s record of protecting children, courtroom patience, thoughtful deliberation, and community service have been completely overshadowed by this now suspect prosecution by Mr. Fischer in behalf of the Judicial Tenure Commission,” Connor Ferrick, one of the lawyers, told the Detroit News.

Judge Gorcyca is set to face the Michigan Supreme Court in September; her punishment could be anywhere from a censure to removal from the bench.

The sanctions stem from Gorcyca’s handling of the Tsimhoni custody case. Gorcyca sentenced them to juvenile hall after they refused to have lunch with their father, who they claim abused them. They then were sent to a camp, then to reunification therapy and then forced against their will and desire to live exclusively with their father.

Judge Gorcyca removed herself from the Tsimhoni case in December 2015 after the initial MJTC complaint. Since a new judge was appointed, the parties reached a settlement. The mother, Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, now again has physical custody of the children.

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