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Oakland County Circuit Judge Leo Bowman, 65, reportedly jailed two people in a single week last month for being late to his courtroom. The move prompted backlash from the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and lawyers of the jailed defendants, according to the Detroit Free Press.
In one of the cases, Bowman jailed a mother for being 20 minutes late after her bus was delayed, according to an Emergency Motion filed by the ACLU lawyers with the state’s Court of Appeals, the report said.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Leo Bowman, 65, reportedly jailed two people last month for being late to his courtroom amid the coronavirus outbreak
(Oakland County Circuit Court)
Bowman said the woman’s lateness was a violation of her previous release on bond, the paper reported. Her lawyer filed an emergency motion requesting her release due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the judge reportedly disregarded the motion and said there was no emergency.
In another case, Bowman jailed a 61-year-old man who was late after coming from an urgent care clinic. The man reportedly vomited into a courtroom wastebasket, his lawyers said in legal documents.
Bowman’s written order in the case disregarded a clinic’s note about the man’s pneumonia diagnosis. Both defendants have since been released and it’s not yet clear if Bowman is being investigated for his actions.
This week, John Nevin, the Michigan Supreme Court Communications Director told the Detroit Free Press, “I can’t say on the record what’s been done with him.”
Bowman will be forced to retire due to his age when his current term ends in 2024.
Michigan has seen over 10,500 COVID-19 cases and at least 400 deaths, according to data from John’s Hopkins.