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Report: Schuette calling for investigation into former justice's ethics

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jan 25, 2013

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants an investigation into former state Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway's ethics and professionalism.

Schuette, in a letter to the state Attorney Grievance Commission, pointed to a Judicial Tenure Commission complaint over suspicious real estate transactions by Hathaway.

The JTC is responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct by state judges.

According to, the attorney general contends the complaint calls into question her overall "ethics, honesty, morals and professionalism."

"It further alleges that former Justice Hathaway was not candid during its investigation," Schuette wrote, according to the news site.

"The conduct described in the JTC complaint raises serious questions as to Ms. Hathaway's fitness to practice law."

Hathaway, who has been charged in federal court with bank fraud, announced she would resigned from the bench earlier this month. Her resignation was effective Monday.

Schuette issued the following statement in response:

"Given the gravity of ongoing federal allegations and today's unprecedented Judicial Tenure Commission complaint, it is in the people's best interest that Justice Hathaway step down from the bench," the attorney general said in a Jan. 7 statement.

"Too many public corruption scandals have damaged the public's trust in government and tarnished our state's reputation."

In May, WXYZ-TV in Detroit aired a story about Hathaway, questioning how ethical she was in convincing her bank to let her out of her mortgage on her Lake St. Clair, Mich., home.

According to the television station's report, which aired on its 11 p.m. newscast May 9, the justice convinced her bank in November 2011 that she couldn't afford to keep making payments on the home, even though her other lakefront home in Florida was paid for.

Hathaway's bank apparently allowed her to do a short sale.

A short sale is often used as an alternative to foreclosure because it reduces additional fees and costs to both the creditor and borrower.

WXYZ reported that the transaction was just part of a "strange real-estate shuffle."

According to, Hathaway is expected to enter a guilty plea Tuesday morning before U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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