District Judge Accused of interfering with Intern’s OWI case

According to a formal complaint filed by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission, Judge J. Cedric Simpson has been accused of interfering in an OWI case against Crystal Marie Vargas. Judge Simpson has served in the 14A District Court in Ypsilanti since his appointment in 1999, and Vargas, a graduate of Cooley Law School, was Simpson’s intern at the time of the incident.

According to the complaint, on September 8, 2013, Vargas was driving in Pittsfield Township while under the influence of alcohol. She was involved in a crash with a tow truck. Records show that she called Simpson directly after the accident.

Police records show that Simpson came to the scene of the accident less than 10 minutes after Vargas called him. He then proceeded to interfere with the responding officer who was attempting to administer a field sobriety test.

Judge Simpson then allegedly went to Vargas’ home after she was released from jail, and put the towing fees for her car on his credit card.

Additionally, the complaint claims that prior to any charges being filed against Vargas, Simpson contacted the Pittsfield Township city attorney, Victor Lillich. He allegedly urged Lillich to assist Vargas by delaying the warrant for her arrest.

But if Simpson did indeed attempt to meddle in the tide of justice, it didn’t appear to have served any purpose with regard to his intern. Court records show that the Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office charged Vargas with operating while intoxicated, to which she pled guilty.

However, in his communications with the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission following the complaint, Simpson apparently denied having anything other than a completely professional relationship with Vargas. He indicated that their contact was no different from his contact with any other intern or law student.

But records show a staggering history of contact between the two. For example, the 10,000 texts and phone calls that took place between Simpson and Vargas. In light of this, Judge Simpson is being accused of making false statements to hide his relationship with Vargas.

Simpson has 14 days to respond to the complaint. The Committee will then appoint a “master”, usually another judge, to gather evidence and hear testimony before determining whether or not the allegations are founded. For now, Judge Simpson remains on the bench.

According to Simpson’s attorney, Ken Mogill, Judge Simpson will be fighting these allegations. In a recent statement to the press Mogill said, “We respectfully disagree with the Judicial Tenure Committee’s allegations, and I expect Judge Simpson will be exonerated.”

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