Judge Suspended Indefinitely

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It's a decision that surprised both judge Beverley Nettles-Nickerson and her attorney. The Michigan Supreme Court has suspended the Ingham County Circuit Court judge indefinitely.

"We're disappointed but where gearing up for the battle," said her attorney Philip J. Thomas. "She's a fighter, a very honest, hard-working woman. She knows these allegations are false and we intend to fight them."

A fight that could not begin for months. During that time, taxpayers will pay for Nettles-Nickerson's salary as if she were behind the bench.

That's why Judge William Collette is hoping for a swift resolution. Nettles-Nickerson accused him of racial discrimination, an accusation he denies.

"They just aren't true."

She also accused the Judical Tenure Commission of racism while the agency was investigating her claims against Judge Collette -- something her attorney says sparked her suspension.

"It is my strongest belief that one of the reasons that the Michigan Judicial Commission took the gloves off and went after her like pit bulls is because she filed a lawsuit against the agency," Thomas said.

The agency's executive director doesn't expect her to proceed over a court anytime soon.

"I do not expect her ever to be back on the bench because I expect to prove the allegations the commission has made, that will support her removal," said Paul Fischer of the Judical Tenure Commission.

That may not happen until the end of this year at the earliest. That's why Judge Collette is hoping for a replacement to balance the case load.

"We're hoping the state court administrator's office will assits in funding a replacement judge until hte matter is resolved one way or the other," he added.

He says he could work with Nettles-Nickerson if she's back on the bench and supports whatever decision the Supreme Court reaches.

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