“What happened to your family was terrible, but I didn’t do anything to you.” Yes. Yes you did.
The following guest post was written by Tali Wendrow of Oakland County.
I had spent much of my adult life trying (not always successfully) to keep my political views quiet, at least in public fora. Oh sure, I’d let ‘er rip at family gatherings but beyond the Thanksgiving or Rosh Hashanah table, I pretty much kept it them myself. I especially didn’t discuss political matters on Facebook or whatever fledgling social media that was emerging at that time, mostly because I worked in a government job. It felt unseemly to let the world know my political views while working for a judge. I threw all those rules out the window during the 2008 election cycle. I was still reeling from the ordeal of having had my children ripped from my home unlawfully and having had myself incarcerated and on house arrest and my husband incarcerated while our children were in “placement” by the State of Michigan (a euphemism for detained) for three months.
The 2008 election cycle was an ugly and heated one. I can only imagine how horrible it would have been if we had had the Citizens United decision to further muck up the waters at that time. In one particular heated e-mail exchange, I recall an old friend saying “You’ve changed, Tali!” To which I responded that I was passionate about the issues of who we elect both locally and nationally because of what had happened to my family and that I was no longer going to keep those opinions to myself. The response was something to the effect of “What happened to your family was terrible, but I didn’t do anything to you.”
I learned sometime after this exchange that this friend’s family and business had given a considerable financial donation to Lisa Gorcyca’s campaign. They, and many others who supported and voted for Lisa Gorcyca, got her elected to the seat she occupies today and which she will no doubt occupy until the next time she’s up for election in 2020 — at that time, all will be forgotten. The Tsimhoni case where Gorcyca put three children in a juvenile detention facility for not having lunch with their father will be a distant memory in the minds of Oakland County voters.
In September 2008 during the annual fundraiser for the Friendship Circle, a well-attended walk, there was a minivan with a large vehicle wrapper of Lisa Gorcyca’s face and her campaign slogan strategically parked at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) parking lot in West Bloomfield. The JCC was the starting point of this one-mile or 5K walk where the 3,000 walkers were sure to see it. Just as we all turned the corner to start our communal trek for this worthy cause, there she was, smiling lovingly upon all of us from a wrapped minivan — this beautiful young woman running for judge. She clearly ran a very well-financed campaign.
I pleaded with people not to vote for her, not only because she was married to David Gorcyca. I really didn’t think that being married to the Oakland County Prosecutor, in and of itself, disqualified her from being an impartial jurist. But I was concerned because a majority of her legal career was spent in a Prosecutor’s office that was run by David Gorcyca and his Chief Deputy, Deborah Carley. I was troubled by the way that office conducted business during the years I worked for various Oakland County Circuit Court judges so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when my own family fell victim to their deplorable tactics. One of the Judge’s clerks who worked in chambers with me was often amused by my use of the phrase “that’s how they operate” when the Prosecutors’ office would do something that I found troubling.
And so over the past week, in learning about what had happened to the Tsimhoni children being held in contempt and detained at Children’s Village (Mandy’s Place, specifically) because of their mother’s alleged actions, I was outraged as so many others were. You don’t manipulate and use children to make your point or your case — unless you’ve spent your professional career prior to running for judge being trained under David Gorcyca’s Prosecutor’s office.
I don’t know if it’s common practice in Prosecutor’s offices around the country to remove children to “break” a mother to testify against her husband or to allow law enforcement to interrogate a child in order to “break” him to testify against a parent, or if it’s common place to remove children in order to make an intransigent divorcing parent capitulate from an irrational position, but I do know that such tactics were common in David Gorcyca’s office. And now we all know that such tactics were used by his wife in a high-conflict divorce case.
Next time you see a well-financed local judicial campaign with lovely yard signs, a pretty or handsome face warmly smiling at you, take the time to dig a little deeper than the high-gloss image. Take a look at how “they operate” before you vote.
[Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]