Daily Briefs

Michigan chief justice: Violent courthouse paintings are ‘jarring’

PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s chief justice says it’s “jarring” to see violent paintings in a southwestern Michigan courthouse. But Bridget McCormack says it’s not her job to tell local leaders how to manage the building.

McCormack was in the Van Buren County courthouse last week participating in an effort to observe and assist judges. One mural in a stairwell shows a bare-breasted woman holding a decapitated head and a spear. Another painting above a judge’s bench shows a nude man and nude woman begging for mercy.

Local judges want the paintings covered up or removed, but county commissioners have said no.

McCormack says the painting with the decapitated head could traumatize a crime victim. She says the old paintings might be appropriate for a museum but seem out of place in a courthouse.

Former Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk returns to federal bench

Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Hluchaniuk has been recalled to service as a federal magistrate judge at the United States Courthouse in Flint.

Hluchaniuk, who served as a federal magistrate judge there from 2007-2016, was recalled last month due to the anticipated elevation of Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis to U.S. District Court judge. The federal court clerk’s office recently began assigning cases to him.

Hluchaniuk, 72, is a 1969 graduate of the University of Michigan and received his law degree from Wayne State University in 1972. Afterward, he worked as a lawyer the Michigan Court of Appeals, Jackson County legal aid and in private practice in East Lansing. In 1980, he became an Assistant U.S. Attorney based primarily in Bay City and served in that role until 2007 when he was appointed federal magistrate judge.

Federal magistrate judges handle arraignments and other preliminary criminal matters and preside over discovery and pre-trial civil proceedings at the request of federal district judges.

Defense attorney blames steroid abuse in severe beating

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 36-year-old man faces up to life in prison in the severe beating of his girlfriend in their Detroit-area home.

The Macomb Daily reports that Paul Bashi pleaded no contest Tuesday to attempted murder, torture and illegally possessing steroids. Defense attorney David Griem blamed Bashi’s steroid abuse in the attack.

Authorities say Bashi kicked 23-year-old Kristina Perry more than 100 times in the July 2018 assault in their Washington County home. They say he also punched her 50 times, stabbed her two dozen times and hit her with a chair.

A Macomb County judge has taken the plea under advisement.

Bashi is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 23 and remains jailed on a $5 million bond. A no-contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.