Tracy Green was elected to the Third Circuit Court of Michigan, which oversees Wayne County, in November of 2018, a rarity among judges in that her interest was to focus on the court’s child welfare docket.
Many judges start out with an assignment in family court; few seek it out as their docket of choice. And Green had served for seven years as a legal director for the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, which has since closed but is viewed as a pioneer in the concept of pre-petition legal counsel for parents at risk of becoming ensnared in child welfare cases.
But her time on the bench might come to an early end. The Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission has concluded that Green committed misconduct and should step down from her bench for her role in a child abuse case involving her son and two young grandsons.
According to the commission’s July 18 findings, members unanimously concluded that Green concealed evidence of her son’s abuse and lied about it “in a multitude of forums and to a host of people, in some cases under oath as a judge.”
The commission, which investigates complaints about Michigan judges, determined in summary: “The totality of the evidence shows that Respondent was aware that her grandsons were being abused by her son, she covered it up, and she lied about knowing about it.”
Green, a judge since 2018 and an attorney with two decades’ experience who is known for her advocacy for children and families, has insisted she did nothing wrong.
In written objections, Green states that her grandsons — both under age 11 — were lying when they said they had informed her on several occasions that their father, the judge’s son Gary Davis-Headd, slapped, spanked, and beat them with a belt.
According to the commission’s findings, Green testified under oath that she knew of her son using corporal punishment against her grandsons as early as 2015. According to The Detroit News, Davis-Headd was ultimately convicted on two counts of second-degree child abuse in the same county circuit court that Green presides in. He was sentenced in 2019 to two concurrent four- to 10-year prison terms.
Green’s objections include her position that the commission’s proceedings are unconstitutional because she had the right to an in-person hearing, a request rejected by the Judicial Tenure Commission.
The commission’s recommendations will now go to Michigan’s Supreme Court, which will decide if the documented actions by Green are grounds for misconduct, as well as determine whether Green should be suspended, removed or censured from the bench.