Hearing for Inkster judge accused of taking $130K

DEARBORN HEIGHTS (AP) -- A misconduct hearing has opened against a Detroit-area judge who is accused of misusing about $130,000.

Inkster District Judge Sylvia James has been suspended with pay after two decades on the bench. She's accused of spending court money to promote herself, including giving cash for cheerleader uniforms, a school trip to Europe and a high school reunion.

Margaret Rynier is acting as a prosecutor during a trial-like hearing that started Monday at the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission in Dearborn Heights.

Rynier accuses the judge of abusing her office.

James' attorney describes the judge as one of the best in Michigan. Phil Thomas says the judge is the victim of a political battle involving local officials in Inkster.

The hearing could last weeks.

Published: Wed, Jan 25, 2012