Family court bias

Update: Judge Lisa Gorcyca Disqualified

According to reports, Judge Lisa Gorcyca has removed herself from the Tsimhoni case after the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint in response to Gorcyca’s conduct during the Tsimhoni v. Tshimhoni custody case. The Supreme Court was asked to appoint a Special Master to oversee and investigate the complaint. The Complaint filed against Judge Gorcyca cited sixteen violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. Some of the complaints are as follows:

  • Misconduct in office
  • Conduct clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice
  • Failure to establish, maintain, enforce, and personally observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved
  • Responsible or improper conduct which erodes public confidence in the judiciary
  • Conduct involving impropriety and the appearance of impropriety
  • Failure to respect and observe the law and to conduct herself at all times in a manner which would promote the public’s confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary
  • Failure to be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it

Lawyers representing Dr. Maya Tsimhoni filed an Order To Disqualify Judge with the Michigan Court of Appeals in September of 2015. Gorcyca refused to recuse herself, citing that neither she nor the court were biased for or against either party.

In the course of the Tsimhoni custody case, Judge Lisa Gorcyca has:

  • Laughed at the Tsimhoni children
  • Raised her voice at the Tshimhoni children
  • Made circular movements around her temple with her finger implying that one of the children was crazy.
  • Compared the three Tsimhoni children and their mother to a Charles Manson cult.
  • Ordered the children (ages 14, 10, and 9) to speak to their father and sent them all to a detention center after they refused. The two eldest children were handcuffed and led away. After public outcry and national news attention, Judge Gorcyca had the children sent to summer camp at a cost of $30,000 to the parents.
  • Placed the children in a reunification program with father Omer Tshimhoni. The Tsimhoni children have been denied contact with their mother – a respected member of society with no criminal record and for whom no allegations of child abuse or neglect have been made- for over 170 days.
  • Issued a gag order in the case.

The Tsimhoni case began in 2009 and has garnered international media coverage.  The activist group, Justice For Tsimhoni Children, has closely followed the Tsimhoni custody case. The group has led to many articles, posts, and essays on the Tshimhoni case going viral, including a post I wrote in September. In addition to pushing media coverage of the case, the group has compiled court documents, advocated for procedures and motions to be filed, offered a show of support for Maya and her children, installed court watchers to document court bias, and offered moral support to protective parents worldwide who have lost custody of their children due to family court bias. My Open Letter To Judge Gorcyca was written to rally activists who had grown weary and discouraged during the Tsimhoni case in addition to offering support to protective parents worldwide. The Justice For Tsimhoni activists have fought tirelessly and courageously to see justice for Maya Tsimhoni and her children and many have experienced family court bias themselves.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission may have filed their complaint based on the very loud public response to Judge Gorcyca’s controversial behavior during the Tsimhoni case. We the people still have power and the Tsimhoni case is proof that when we raise our voices and unite, we can effect change.

Hopefully, the Tsimhoni case will now be heard by an unbiased judge that will reunite the Tsimhoni children with their mother and bring the Tsimhoni’s family court nightmare to an end.



Case files may be accessed here, courtesy of the Justice For Tsimhoni Children news and media site.