Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade H. McCree's salary will be held in escrow by a judicial oversight panel until it makes a determination in the case. McCree, who was censured in December after sending shirtless photos of himself to a female bailiff in his courtroom, allegedly had sex with a woman appearing before his court and coached her on how to proceed in seeking back child support from her child's father, The Detroit News said Saturday.
The woman provided text messages allegedly from McCree to WJBK-TV, Detroit, as proof of the affair.
Curt Benson, a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School's Grand Rapids campus, told the Detroit Free Press an unpaid suspension has only been done a handful of times and likely means the allegations against McCree are serious and credible.
"I can tell you that this is, I believe, only the fourth time in history that the Supreme Court has suspended a judge without pay pending a [Judicial Tenure Commission] investigation. Normally, judges are suspended with pay," Benson said. "In the other three cases, two judges had already been convicted of felonies and their removals were mere formalities. In the third case, the judge had admitted dereliction of duty before the investigation had even begun. So the evidence against McCree must be quite compelling."
Prosecutors said no criminal charges were warranted.