By Carol Hopkins
For the Daily Tribune
Is it fair to go after judges who request donations to help people impacted by a natural disaster?
That is a question some are asking after reports circulated that the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission might be checking into Waterford District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht.
Debbrecht, a Missouri native, announced June 1 that she and the Main Street Oakland County program were collecting items to help the city of Joplin devastated by the May 22 twister.
Debbrecht, along with Main Street Oakland County, said she helped launch a relief effort for Joplin, originally tying her name to the effort.
“The devastation is just simply too great,” she said. “We are going to accompany a convoy. We hope to load up some supplies, we have a specific list.
“What is getting lost in this is the real point of this effort,” Debbrecht said.
“The Judicial Canons allow for a judge to make an appeal and allows us to speak on behalf of an organization. I did just that. Main Street Oakland County has done the rest. L. Brooks Patterson and his staff at Main Street are remarkable individuals! They initiated a zealous humanitarian effort — as they have done before — for a former Main Street Community, and I serve only to draw attention to their task (that is, speak on behalf of the organization). Furthermore, nothing precludes a judge from going to unload a convoy of trucks, deliver supplies, hand out children’s books and dry some tears.
“This is not simply some random effort. Missouri was my home for over 30 years! I have walked the streets of Joplin, sung hymns with their parishioners, floated in their streams and shared laughter with their citizenry. My family still resides in Missouri. My friends live and work very near to Joplin.
“When tornadoes struck just north of Columbia, Mo.