Wolchek investigation leads to formal complaint against Judge De - Fox 2 News Headlines

Wolchek investigation leads to formal complaint against Judge Dennis Powers

Posted: Updated:
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) - After a year long investigation from the state of Michigan, a formal complaint has been issued against Judge Dennis Powers that could result in him losing his seat on the bench.

The state began investigating the judge after FOX 2's Rob Wolchek busted-on-the-job story last June, in which he caught the judge playing golf after canceling his court docket, taking vacations with his wife when he was supposed to be at judicial conferences, spending long lunches with a female friend and not even leaving his house for court until hours after he was supposed to be on the bench.

The 58-page report cites Wolchek's investigation and our findings as well as many other violations of fraud and abuse of tax payer money.

Count 1: Fraudulent mileage reimbursements. 

Judge Powers is accused of fleecing the taxpayers for thousands of dollars in phony mileage, including several instances of dual destination mileage where he claimed to be at a conference on one side of the state and then claimed mileage for travel here in the Detroit area.

In Wolchek's story he reported that the judge was in Aruba and other vacation destinations while he claimed to be at conferences, and the state investigation also found that to be true and said Judge Powers also charged the court while he went to real estate conferences.

He's cited for being late constantly and missing work.

Count five of the complaint says he wasn't even a good judge and didn't follow the law.

One case involved a man who threatened to "put a bullet in the head" of another judge in the same courthouse, Judge Brian McKenzie.

According to the complaint, Judge Powers let the guy off easy and even terminated the defendant's probation early. The complaint says this was because he was friends with the threatening man's father.

Speaking of friends, Judge Powers is also accused of dismissing a case against a woman's daughter in violation of the court's internal policy and the Michigan code of judicial conduct.

After Wolchek's story aired, the complaint says the judge acted improperly by threatening court employees in an effort to find out who was the snitch or rat among them. Judge Powers said he was going to have that person fired. 

A public trial will now be held and Judge Dennis Powers could face anything from public censure to removal from office and even criminal charges.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 24-year-old women is $66 million jackpot winner

    24-year-old women is $66 million jackpot winner

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:26:09 GMT
    The Michigan Lottery says a Port Huron woman is the winner of a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn in mid-June.Kelsey Zachow says in a statement that she "could barely breathe" when she learned she was the winner.
    The Michigan Lottery says a Port Huron woman is the winner of a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn in mid-June.Kelsey Zachow says in a statement that she "could barely breathe" when she learned she was the winner.
  • Winner of $66 Million Mega Millions Jackpot to be Announced

    Winner of $66 Million Mega Millions Jackpot to be Announced

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:31:30 GMT
    Michigan Lottery news conference to announce the winner of the $66 million Mega Millions jackpot from Friday, June 13, 2014.
    Michigan Lottery news conference to announce the winner of the $66 million Mega Millions jackpot from Friday, June 13, 2014.
  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices