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Commission: Remove Washtenaw County judge from office

Sep 1, 2015

Credit orangesparrow / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Washtenaw County District Judge J. Cedric Simpson could soon be out of a job.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission this week recommended Simpson be removed from the bench for interfering with a police investigation involving a former intern.

In August 2013, Crystal Vargas called Simpson after she was involved in an early morning automobile accident near his home in Pittsfield Township. 

Simpson arrived at the scene soon after and watched as a police officer gave Vargas sobriety tests. He also spoke to Vargas as she sat, handcuffed, in the backseat of the police cruiser. 

Following the arrest, Simpson made several calls to the township attorney prosecuting the case.

Vargas later pled guilty to driving while intoxicated.

The report said Simpson "used his judicial office to interfere, or to attempt to interfere" with the police investigation and prosecution of Vargas' case and should be removed from office.

The JTC also recommended that Simpson be forced to pay $7,565.53 in fines for making "intentional misrepresentations or misleading statements" regarding communication he had with Vargas in the months before and after her arrest.

Records show Simpson and Vargas exchanged 3,600 text messages or phone calls a month during a five-month period, many after work hours. Simpson told the JTC the "vast majority" were work related. 

Currently, Simpson is still on the bench and denies wrongdoing. 

The Michigan Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether to remove him.