Detroit Evening Report: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bernstein apologizes to Justice Harris Bolden over clerk hiring criticism

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Richard Bernstein, Kyra Harris Bolden

Democratic incumbent Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein, left, and candidate Kyra Harris Bolden are seen during a Get Out the Vote rally, Oct. 29, 2022, in Detroit.

A Michigan Supreme Court justice has apologized to a fellow justice for criticizing her hiring of an ex-convict to serve as a law clerk.


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Justice Richard Bernstein issued a statement saying he apologized to Justice Kyra Harris Bolden in person and that she accepted his apology. The statement says he regretted “overstepping Justice Bolden’s hiring process.”

“Today, I apologized to my colleague Justice Kyra Harris Bolden in-person at the Hall of Justice and she has accepted my apology,” Bernstein said in a statement released by the court office. “I regret overstepping Justice Bolden’s hiring process and should not have disturbed her ability to lead her Chambers.”

Bolden hired Pete Martel, who had served 14 years in prison after robbing a store. After being released in 2008, Martel turned his life around, working to get a degree from Wayne State University’s law school.

Bernstein also apologized to Martel. “My actions invited people into his life in a way that he had not signed up for and he deserved more consideration,” the Justice said.

“I am committed to working with Justice Bolden in the coming years to advance our many shared values, including immediately working to expand opportunities in the legal field for those who have repaid their debts to society.”

Bernstein made stinging comments criticizing Bolden’s decision, saying Martel was the wrong choice to fill the clerk position. He also said at the time that he was not speaking to Bolden because they did not share the same values.

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  • Jerome Vaughn

    Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. His interest in news reporting began when he was five years old, after his mom bought him a yellow Panasonic ball and chain radio.