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Commission Recommends Public Censure Of Controversial Judge

March 28, 1985

DETROIT (AP) _ A judge who was arrested in a dispute over cab fare to a legal Nevada brothel should be publicly censured, the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission said Wednesday.

East Lansing District Judge Daniel Tschirhart ″is guilty of conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice,″ the commission said in its recommendation to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Tschirhart also had been criticized for remarks he made shortly after the incident to the Lansing State Journal.

″You bet I would do it again, under the same circumstances,″ he said in an April 22, 1984, interview. ″I’m more concerned about my principles than public reaction on an emotional basis about something that doesn’t even count.

″I enjoyed it. It was fun,″ he said of his excursion. ″There’s nowhere like it in the world.″

The judge did not dispute making those comments or making the trip to the brothel.

In a hearing two weeks ago, the commission’s executive director, Joseph Regnier, had argued that Tschirhart should be both censured and suspended without pay for 60 days.

″We are pleased the commission did not recommend any suspension,″ Thomas A. Bengtson, the judge’s lawyer, said Wednesday. ″He regrets having made several of the statements he made and will continue to serve his constituents well.″

He said no decision had been made on whether to challenge the commission’s recommendation.

The state Supreme Court makes the final decision on discipline, said Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Foley, the commission’s chairman.

Tschirhart was arrested April 17, 1984, in Reno, Nev., and later acquitted on charges that he defrauded a cab driver of his fare to the Mustang Ranch, a legal brothel.

At his hearing, Tschirhart said ″that he realized, before he made the remarks, that they might ’cause a little aspersion upon the judiciary,‴ the commission report said.

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