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Lawyer for Rosa Parks Estate Sues Judge and Two Lawyers
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A probate judge and two court-appointed lawyers from Wayne County have been sued by a lawyer after accusing them of taking property from the estate of Rosa Parks. The lawyer, Stephen G. Cohen, said that Judge Freddie Burton Jr. worked along with probate lawyers John chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr. to accumulate $507,000 in legal fees that left the estate $88,000 in debt. It is also alleged that Burton used secret hearings and improper rulings to help the pair of lawyers create a breach of confidentiality dispute that was false.

Cohen also claims that the judge striped Elaine Steele and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute of their share of Parks’ property, which is worth roughly $8 million, by creating the false dispute.


“Chase and Jefferson, together with Judge Burton, illegally, maliciously and wrongfully conspired … for the illegal purpose of raiding Mrs. Parks’ estate of its value,” Cohen said.

Cohen has requested that a jury trial be held in probate court and that Burton remove himself from the case involving the estate of Parks.

“This is out there. This is really, really out there,” said Andrew Mayoras. Mayoras is from Troy, Michigan and works as a probate lawyer and is the co-author of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!

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“Disagreeing with and challenging rulings of a judge is one thing, but suing a judge and the attorneys he appointed for their actions is another matter altogether,” Mayoras said.

A probate lawyer and former probate law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy, Patricia Patterson-Courie, said the following:

“This is a difficult allegation to prove, and it would be very difficult to produce evidence of a conspiracy,” Patterson said.

Another professor of law from University of Detroit Mercy, Larry Dubin, said, “Perhaps Judge Burton will feel increasing pressure to recuse himself now that he is being placed in a defensive position.”

Cohen has also asked that all of the money be restored to the estate by Jefferson, Chase and Burton. Should Burton refuse to remove himself from the case, Cohen can legally appeal the decision of Chief Wayne County Probate Judge Milton Mack Jr. Cohen can appeal the decision in Wayne County Circuit Court and the state appellate court system.

Parks was a symbol of freedom during the United States Civil Rights Movement and came to prominence when she refused to change her seat on an Alabama bus in 1955 when a white man asked for it.



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