Wolchek investigation leads to formal complaint against Judge De - New York News

Wolchek investigation leads to formal complaint against Judge Dennis Powers

Posted: Updated:
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) - After a year long investigation from the state of Michigan, a formal complaint has been issued against Judge Dennis Powers that could result in him losing his seat on the bench.

The state began investigating the judge after FOX 2's Rob Wolchek busted-on-the-job story last June, in which he caught the judge playing golf after canceling his court docket, taking vacations with his wife when he was supposed to be at judicial conferences, spending long lunches with a female friend and not even leaving his house for court until hours after he was supposed to be on the bench.

The 58-page report cites Wolchek's investigation and our findings as well as many other violations of fraud and abuse of tax payer money.

Count 1: Fraudulent mileage reimbursements. 

Judge Powers is accused of fleecing the taxpayers for thousands of dollars in phony mileage, including several instances of dual destination mileage where he claimed to be at a conference on one side of the state and then claimed mileage for travel here in the Detroit area.

In Wolchek's story he reported that the judge was in Aruba and other vacation destinations while he claimed to be at conferences, and the state investigation also found that to be true and said Judge Powers also charged the court while he went to real estate conferences.

He's cited for being late constantly and missing work.

Count five of the complaint says he wasn't even a good judge and didn't follow the law.

One case involved a man who threatened to "put a bullet in the head" of another judge in the same courthouse, Judge Brian McKenzie.

According to the complaint, Judge Powers let the guy off easy and even terminated the defendant's probation early. The complaint says this was because he was friends with the threatening man's father.

Speaking of friends, Judge Powers is also accused of dismissing a case against a woman's daughter in violation of the court's internal policy and the Michigan code of judicial conduct.

After Wolchek's story aired, the complaint says the judge acted improperly by threatening court employees in an effort to find out who was the snitch or rat among them. Judge Powers said he was going to have that person fired. 

A public trial will now be held and Judge Dennis Powers could face anything from public censure to removal from office and even criminal charges.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Two teens shot and killed on Detroit's west side

    Two teens shot and killed on Detroit's west side

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:20 AM EDT2014-09-01 04:20:04 GMT
    Two families are grieving after the bodies of two teenagers -- a boy and a girl -- were found in the street Sunday morning on Detroit's west side. Both were shot and killed.
    Two families are grieving after the bodies of two teenagers -- a boy and a girl -- were found in the street Sunday morning on Detroit's west side. Both were shot and killed.
  • Traveling Vietnam memorial wall stops in Hamburg

    Traveling Vietnam memorial wall stops in Hamburg

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-09-01 04:07:54 GMT
    It was a somber evening Sunday in Hamburg in Livingston County. A large crowd turned out to see the Vietnam traveling memorial wall.
    It was a somber evening Sunday in Hamburg in Livingston County. A large crowd turned out to see the Vietnam traveling memorial wall.
  • Man claims he was beaten by discount store clerk

    Man claims he was beaten by discount store clerk

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:56:19 GMT
    "He put his hand on me and slammed me into the racks, put me in a (mixed martial arts) arm bar, then put me in a choke hold," Lacey Wheeler said.
    "He put his hand on me and slammed me into the racks, put me in a (mixed martial arts) arm bar, then put me in a choke hold," Lacey Wheeler said.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Suspect, rookie officer both wounded in gunfire

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:11 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:11:38 GMT
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
    Authorities say an early morning gunfire exchange on a Brooklyn street has left the suspect hospitalized and a police officer with a graze wound.
  • New MTA bus routes take effect

    New MTA bus routes take effect

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:51:36 GMT
    MTAMTA
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
    The MTA has new bus routes throughout the 5 boroughs. 
  • 3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    3 hurt in lightning strike as storms batter NYC area

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:47:41 GMT
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
    Heavy thunderstorms swept through the tri-state on Sunday causing flash floods and lightning strikes that injured 3 people. The three men were struck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday afternoon and were being treated at a local hospital. Meanwhile, various Labor Day weekend celebrations were interrupted, delayed and even canceled as the U.S. Open tennis tournament had to be postponed and the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island had to be prematurely shut down.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices