Detroit’s Top Lawyer Resigns After “Ghetto Court” Remark
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Kathleen LeaveyAttorney Kathleen Leavey, head of the City of Detroit Law Department, has resigned after referring to one of the city’s courts as “a ghetto court.”

Leavey said her comment was taken out of context. The 23-year city employee adamantly denied allegations from a city judge that her words were racist and insulting to the predominantly black court.

“I am not a racist,” Leavey told the National Law Journal. “My reputation is at question.”


The controversy stems from a conversation that Leavey held last week with court staff about financial support for the court, and a recent $400,000 legal judgment against the court. According to Leavey, she told an administrator that “people regard this as a ghetto court because of the way they treat people.” She explained that she was referring to a poorly managed court.

“Judges don’t get on the bench until 11 o’clock. People wait in long lines. Files get lost,” Leavey said. “It’s just badly managed.”

But 36th District Court Chief Judge Marylin Atkins reports a different version. She said that Leavey told her judicial assistant, ” ‘When you stop acting like a ghetto court, maybe the city will be more inclined to pay your operations.’ ”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

“I thought it was very insulting and racist to the court and the city of Detroit,” Atkins said. “It doesn’t matter to me what her explanation is. Referring to this court, with that word … it was insulting.”

Atkins also expressed her outrage in a letter, which she delivered to several judges and the mayor’s office.

Leavey said she resigned at the request of the mayor’s office. She has since returned to her former job as an attorney for the Law Department, as allowed under union rules that lets mayoral appointees return to their previous civil servant jobs.

Since resigning she also has sent a letter to the mayor’s office, asking it not to accept her resignation.

“I do not know that any effort to get my job back will be successful,” Leavey said. “[Atkins’] comments have made it difficult for me to move forward.”

Leavey was hired to head the department in September to replace John Johnson, a key figure in the text message scandal that drove former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office.

Via NLJ. Also here.


Interesting Legal Sites You May Like




Search Now

Defense Law Attorney with 5+ years of litigation experience


Seattle office of our client seeks defense law attorney with 5+ years of litigation experience, spec...

Apply Now

Product Liability/Toxic Tort Attorney with 3-5 years of experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks product liability/toxic tort litigation attorney with 3-5 y...

Apply Now

Entertainment Attorney with 4-7 years of new media experience

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office of our client seeks entertainment attorney with 4-7 years of legal experience. ...

Apply Now

Litigation Attorney with 3-5 years of employment discrimination experience


Melville office of our client seeks litigation attorney with 3-5 years of experience. The candidate ...

Apply Now


Public Law Associate Attorney (General Municipal Law, Real Estate, Transactions)

USA-CA-San Rafael

Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP is seeking a skilled and motivated associate attorney with 1 to 3 ye...

Apply now

Corporate / Commercial Attorney | Lebanon, NH


Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC seeks an experienced corporate / commercial attorney to join its Lebanon o...

Apply now

Business Law Junior Associate | Burlington, VT


Downs Rachlin Martin seeks associate attorney with 1-3 years of experience to join its Commercial an...

Apply now

Business Law Associate | Burlington


Downs Rachlin Martin is seeking an attorney with 4 to 8 years of experience to join its very busy pr...

Apply now

Most Popular


To Top