‘Lead them to the climax.’ Judge compares murder trial to sex, Michigan complaint says

Chacour Koop
·2 min read

A Michigan judge is accused of using graphic language to compare a murder trial to sex, a complaint says.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow used sexually graphic language in conversations with female prosecutors during a jury trial last year, according to the complaint filed with the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. He also is accused of asking the women about their weight, the complaint says.

Morrow’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday by McClatchy News.

Morrow, who’s been a judge in the court since 1992, presided over the murder trial of James Edward Matthews. Matthews is a suspected serial killer who was charged with a sexual assault in 2000 and the murder of a woman in 2003, according to WJBK.

During a break in the June 2019 murder trial, a prosecutor asked Morrow for feedback about her questioning of the medical examiner. The judge responded by leaving his bench to speak with her personally, telling her what he was about to say might make her “blush,” according to the complaint.

“So when a man and a woman are close, they start by holding hands, rubbing elbows, kissing, foreplay, then that leads to sex?” Morrow told the prosecutor while sitting very close to her, the complaint says. “Would you want foreplay before or after sex?”

Morrow continued with the “analogy” by saying the prosecutor should “tease the jury with the details of the examination” and lead the jury to the manner of death, “which is the sex of the testimony,” the complaint says.

“You want to lead them to the climax of the manner of death,” Morrow said, according to the complaint.

The conversation caused the prosecutor to feel “frozen” and “afraid to move,” the complaint says.

When the jury was deliberating, Morrow invited the prosecutors and defense attorneys to his chambers. He criticized the other prosecutor’s jury selection examination of potential jurors, according to the complaint.

“If I want to have sex with a woman on the first date, how would I figure that out?” Morrow is accused of saying “I wouldn’t ask her if she wants family or children or what she does, I would ask her, ‘Have you had sex on a first date before? Would you sleep with me on a first date?’”

Morrow asked the woman about their weight, the complaint. When one of the prosecutors responded, he replied, “Well, I haven’t assessed your muscle mass yet,” according to the complaint. Morrow was “overtly eyeing” the women’s bodies during the conversation, the complaint says.

The Michigan Supreme Court will appoint a special master for the case who will present facts to the commission, which make a recommendation, The Detroit News reported. The state Supreme Court can accept the recommendation or reduce the penalty, the news outlet reported.