The FBI is reviewing an audiotape secretly recorded in Novi District Judge Brian MacKenzie’s chambers, the latest in a series of legal problems for the judge who has been accused of running a rogue court and making backroom deals with defense attorneys without prosecutors being present.
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that sources close to the investigation into MacKenzie’s deals that the FBI obtained a recording made four years ago in which MacKenzie told a defense attorney representing a client who was Tasered by police in a drunken driving arrest to “give up the civil suit and I can get you something decent.”
The defense attorney, Timothy Corr, provided the tape to the Free Press and said his client, Marquin Stanley of Redford, was offered a deal if he agreed not to file a lawsuit against the Walled Lake police department alleging his civil rights were violated when they used the stun gun on him after he was already detained in custody.
Steven Lubet, a professor who teaches legal ethics at Northwestern University, told the Free Press that "a judge should not be taking sides and certainly lenient treatment in a sentence should not be dependent on giving up a civil right.”
MacKenzie, of Novi's 52nd District Court, has been on the bench since 1988. Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Colleen O’Brien began supervising part of his docket in February after prosecutors complained of his handling of some of his cases.
MacKenzie has defended his record and said complaints against him are full of inaccuracies.>>> Go to the Detroit Free Press and listen to the recording of Judge Brian MacKenzie and defense attorney Timothy Corr discussing case in the judge’s chambers.