Michigan Superior Court Justice receiving psychiatric care

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan Superior Court judge announced Tuesday that he is seeking out-of-state mental health treatment and will not be hearing a case next week.

“I encourage anyone who is struggling to seek the help they need,” Richard Bernstein said in a statement released by the court.

He caused controversy in January when he publicly criticized Judge Kyra Harris Bolden for hiring a court clerk who changed his life after serving 14 years in prison for robbing a store and shooting police officers.

Bernstein, 48, said he was “disgusted” by the attitude. But after a backlash, Bernstein apologized and said he regretted his remarks. Bolden’s employee, Pete Martel, resigned.

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The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case in Cheboygan on April 26.

“I appreciate the opportunity to temporarily leave the courtroom to focus on my mental health,” Bernstein said. “During this time, I will continue to work remotely on all active cases.”

Bernstein did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press asking for further comment.

“We look forward to his returning to court in person in the coming weeks,” said Chief Justice Elizabeth Clement.

Bernstein comes from a well-known family in Michigan’s legal community, a notoriety that helped get him elected in 2014. The law firm of Sam Bernstein is a major television advertiser in the Detroit area.

In 2021, Bernstein took the unusual step of spending months in the United Arab Emirates and Israel. He said his goal is to inspire people while speaking about his life as a blind lawyer and judge.

At the time, the Supreme Court was hearing cases via video conference because of COVID-19. Bernstein attended from overseas and said he could keep up with other court work as well.

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Brian Ashcraft

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