Macomb County District Court Judge Charged in Hit-and-Run

Macomb County district court judge charged in Roseville hit-and-run.

Macomb County District Court Judge Charged in Hit-and-Run
Roseville judge with prior drunken driving arrest accused in hit-and-run.

Don’t you just love when those tasked with upholding and enforcing the law get their comeuppance? It’s especially satisfying when someone who sits in a position to cast judgement falls short of the very standards they unwaveringly place on others. It proves to the common man (and woman) that these individuals are not above the law. It confirms these people are not infallible. Such is the case of Macomb County District Court Judge Catherine Steenland.

Macomb County District Court Judge Charged in Hit-and-Run
Wayne County prosecutor to decide if Judge Steenland will be charged. Judge Catherine Steenland on the bench in 39th District Court.

The 51-year-old hag is being charged with a hit-and-run stemming from a September crash in Roseville according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. She is charged with one count each of failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident, a one-year misdemeanor, and failure to report an accident, a 90-day misdemeanor. She will be arraigned Friday morning in 72nd District Court in St. Clair County but an exact time has not been released.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy took the case after Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith recused his office from the case. Obviously a conflict of interest for his office. The Michigan State Police reviewed the case and made the decision on the charges for the judge.

“The alleged actions of this judge are disturbing. A judge is the ultimate example of one who should be held to the highest standards of the law,” Worthy said in the release.

The ultimate example indeed.

On September 25, 2017 at Gratiot near McKinnon James Nielson, 31, called police on a woman driving a red 2016 Dodge Charger. Nielson told police the woman hit his car and took off. Nielson had just picked up his daughter from dance class when he said he was waiting in the turnaround in front of Applebee’s for a red Dodge Charger that wasn’t moving.

“She wasn’t looking,” Nielson said. “I was beeping my horn.”

He attempted to go around the still vehicle when out of nowhere the district court judge punched the gas.

“Sure enough, she punched it, hit my car, pushed my car into the median and took off,” Nielson said.

Nielson followed her and took down her tag number. He called 911 and was informed that officers were on the way. Before officers could arrive, Steenland took off again. Nielson didn’t follow a second time but according to Click on Detroit, some good samaritans followed the judge home.

“They said she looked intoxicated and was stumbling,” Nielson said.

Steenland did not answer the door when police arrived.

This is not Steenland’s first time on the other side of the law. In 2008, the district court judge was arrested for drunken driving in Ogemaw County with a .23 blood-alcohol level. She pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired. Her punishment, a 90 day suspension from the bench without pay.

The Judicial Tenure Commission recommended the suspension and public censure. The Michigan Supreme Court accepted the commission’s recommendation in a December 2008 order.

Nielson suffered minor injuries but his daughter wasn’t hurt.

“She’s supposed to be number one on the scale of public safety, and she’s out here hitting people?” Nielson said. “I could’ve been hurt. I had my daughter in the car.”