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    Judge Nicholson Refuses to Follow Circuit Court Opinion and Order

    I have seen many strange things happen in Court, but my experience on Monday may take the cake.  On Monday, I argued the Sowell case on remand from the Circuit Court.  In Mr. Sowell's case, Judge Julie Nicholson of the 52-3rd District Court brought Contempt of Court charges against him for allegedly violating the Judge's order to attend a probation meeting.  Due to circumstances out of his control, Mr. Sowell was not able to make the meeting, although he repeatedly attempted to change the meeting date without success.  I got on the case right at the time that Mr. Sowell was scheduled for his Contempt of Court trial.  We then had a trial, and even though the prosecutor's only witness admitted not having any evidence Mr. Sowell willfully violated his probation, Judge Nicholson found him guilty of Contempt of Court.  Because this was so outrageous and such an injustice, we appealed the verdict and the Oakland County Circuit Court overturned Judge Nicholson's ruling.  Additionally, the Circuit Court issued a written opinion which can be downloaded by clicking here. A major ruling in the opinion was that Judge Nicholson was prohibited from giving Mr. Sowell WWAM Weekends as punishment.

    On Monday, Mr. Sowell and I walked into Judge Nicholson's court in order to finally put this matter to a close.  Even though the probation department had recommended jail and WWAM weekends, I was confident that Judge Nicholson would follow the law.  Instead, Judge Nicholson again sentenced Mr. Sowell to WWAM weekends, completely in violation of the Circuit Court's Order and Opinion.  In Michigan, a District Court Judge is bound by the rulings of the Circuit Court on appeals involving their cases.  What Judge Nicholson chose to do by not following the Circuit Court's opinion was to completely violate Mr. Sowell's Constitutional Rights as well as her oath as a judge to uphold and follow the law. 

    Needlesstosay, our emergency motion for stay of sentence pending our appeal of Judge Nicholson's illegal sentence was immediately granted by the Circuit Court, who will soon be hearing our arguments about why a District Court Judge can't choose when to follow the law just because they don't like the decision of their Superior Court.  Ultimately it makes me wonder how Judge Nicholson is so quick to jail people for supposed violations of her Orders, yet she had no problems violating the Circuit Court's Order to her. 

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      Michigan MIP Lawyer 52-3, 48th District Courts Oakland County - Journal - Judge Nicholson Refuses to Follow Circuit Court Opinion and Order

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