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Controversy Is Nothing New For Dearborn Judge


bobandtorey
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BY MELANIE D. SCOTT - DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

As chief judge of 19th District Court in Dearborn, Mark Somers has heard a number of high-profile, religious-based First Amendment cases during his time on the bench and is no stranger to controversy.

 

Somers, 52, was first elected to the court in 2002. He is serving his second, six-year term and his third term as chief judge.

 

Last summer, Somers presided over a trial involving four Christian missionaries accused of inciting a crowd while videotaping themselves evangelizing to Muslims at the Arab International Festival in Dearborn.

 

The missionaries were acquitted in September.

 

In another noteworthy case, Somers denied a motion last month to dismiss a possession of marijuana case after Dearborn police cited Robert Brandon for illegal possession of a controlled substance. The case is pending.

 

Brandon tried to have the case dismissed because he said the marijuana was for medical purposes, and he had a note from a doctor, but Somers, in his order, said the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was unconstitutional.

 

But Somers also faces legal troubles. Three female former court employees filed lawsuits against Somers, alleging discrimination.

 

Former Dearborn Probation Officer Simone Calvas filed a lawsuit in 2009 in Wayne County Circuit Court, alleging she was fired without just cause, and accused Somers of religious discrimination and harassment while she was pregnant.

 

Somers has said he dismissed Calvas because of mistakes she made on the job.

 

Former Dearborn Deputy Court Administrator Julie Pucci and former Dearborn Court Clerk Sharon Langen filed lawsuits in federal court in 2007, alleging retaliation after making complaints to the State Court Administrative Office that accused the judge of proselytizing.

 

Somers said he dismissed Pucci based on an anti-nepotism policy. Pucci is in a long-term relationship with 19th District Judge William Hultgren.

 

Langen was demoted from court administrator to court clerk in 2006.

 

Born in 1958 in St. Johns, Somers grew up in Michigan and India, where both of his parents served as Christian missionaries. He graduated from Michigan State University and Wayne State University Law School.

 

Somers and his wife, Jennie, have two sons, Mark II and Edward. Somers has lived in Dearborn since 1980.

 

 

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110423/NEWS05/104230444/&template=artiphone

 

 

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I have a friend going before this guy on V.O.P. (original charge: non medical possession). Anyone know what he's looking at with this judge?

 

If not I'll post it in this thread, assuming dude turns himself in like he was ordered to.

 

On a side note the only amendment I like more than the 1st is the 4th. Mr. Jones has the right to say what ever the "f" he wants to. He also has the right to be shot dead if he were to go over to Ford Rd. and say that crap in from of their Mosque. I grew up in West Dearborn. I know how to get along with the members of our Islamic community. Stay the f away from them. they're freaking crazy, they fight dirty, and will escalate what ever situation. I saw the angry mob on TV. Looked like extremists to me. I'm just not trying to provoke them.

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