Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Officer Steven Luthy - Kalamazoo PD









I do not want you to forget the words that Ellen Luthy wrote in her PPO request after Officer Luthy's arrest...because it is evident that the Kalamazoo PD, the Prosecutor, and the Judge who allowed Officer Luthy to get away with the domestic violence against Ellen have forgotten these words of terror:

In the filing, Ellen Luthy wrote that her husband has punched her in the face, spat on her and, in one incident several months ago, he told her: "Everyone in our family would be better off if you were dead, I get excited thinking of coming home and seeing your brains splattered everywhere."

If there is a victim of OIDV in Michigan that is in danger of being killed, it is Ellen Luthy.

Complete post on Officer Steven Luthy can be found at:
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2011/07/officer-steven-luthy-kalamazoo-pd-july.html

POSTS and VIDEOS ON OFFICER LUTHY CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON BEHIND THE BLUE WALL:
http//behindthebluewall.blogspot.com



On July 31, 2011 Officer Steven Luthy was arrested on domestic violence charges, for assaulting his wife, Ellen Luthy. He was placed on paid leave from the Kalamazoo PD.


If you are a police officer in the state of Michigan...And you beat your wife...


...You can take a six month vacation at the cost of the taxpayers...


...Instead of losing your job and going to jail, like others who abuse their spouses in Michigan...


...Michigan gives its abusing police officers a vacation. Welcome to Pure Michigan, eh.


On January 31, 2012 Officer Luthy plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence charges, under MCL 769.4a: http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2011/09/mcl-7694a-michigans-loophole-to.html


Luthy was given only a five day suspension from the department and then placed back on duty, despite the evidence of the danger that his ex wife was in:
"The filing alleges two other incidents of domestic violence going back two years...Ellen Luthy wrote that her husband has punched her in the face, spat on her and, in one incident several months ago, he told her: "Everyone in our family would be better off if you were dead, I get excited thinking of coming home and seeing your brains splattered everywhere."...smashed the side of my face, pushed me down the stairs...he punched me in the face...I am truly in fear for my life with the severity of this situation and numerous prior assaults and threats on my life..."I am even more so concerned, considering his position and knowledge and access to firearms and weapons...my family and myself have a great concern of what he is capable of doing."...included with the PPO petition were photos taken by authorities that show injuries to Ellen Luthy's forehead, knee, chin, leg, arm, ankle, elbow, foot, eye, and back..."

MCL 769.4a is a law that has been on the books since the 1990's, which allows people charged with misdemeanor domestic violence charges to plead guilty to the offense and then have the offense expunged after 1 year.

In the early 2000's [just prior to the enactment of the Lautenberg Amendment which prevents police officers convicted of domestic violence offenses from owning /possessing guns], the fine legislators of Michigan edited 769.4a. This allowed a person charged with a felony domestic violence assault to plead guilty under 769.4a and have the charge expunged after 1 year. This is Michigan's loophole to the Lautenberg Amendment, which allows Michigan police officers who plead guilty to misdemeanor and felony domestic violence charges to own/ possess guns and return to duty.


Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence

Monday, January 30, 2012

Judge David Stowe - Assaulted by wife Cynthia - Grand Traverse County

On January 30, 2012 Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe was assaulted by his wife Cynthia.










Judge Stowe files lawsuit over money transfer
He says he hopes incident is 'misunderstanding'
Traverse City Record-Eagle
November 29, 2012
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Npq_9ypgGpoJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1839361761/Judge-Stowe-files-lawsuit-over-money-transfer/print+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

TRAVERSE CITY — A local judge alleges his ex-wife took $46,000 of his money after he mistakenly put it into an account with her name on it.

Grand Traverse Probate Judge David Stowe filed a lawsuit in 13th Circuit Court on Tuesday. The suit alleges his ex-wife, Cynthia Stowe, transferred the money into her personal account after he accidentally put it in a joint account the couple used before their divorce was finalized in July.

David Stowe "for obvious reasons ... had no intention whatsoever to give defendant any of these monies nor to grant any control over or interest in such monies to defendant," the suit reads.

Cynthia Stowe later transferred $26,000 back into the account, but transferred it back out again, the suit alleges. She could not be reached for comment.

Stowe told a Record-Eagle reporter he hopes the entire incident is a "misunderstanding."

Prior to and since her divorce from David Stowe, Cynthia Stowe has had multiple run-ins with the law both here and in Florida, where she now resides.

She was on probation in Grand Traverse County this year for contempt of court and drunken driving. Local judges allowed her to move to Florida, but later issued bench warrants for her arrest after she failed to comply with probation terms.

Stowe assaulted her then-husband David Stowe in their Long Lake Township home in January. That case eventually was resolved in a plea deal that added one year of probation to her drunken driving arrest, though she violated bond and was charged with perjury after authorities said she lied in a bond violation hearing. The perjury charge was dismissed when she pleaded guilty to contempt of court.

While in Florida, she was arrested for an alleged assault on her son, though authorities didn't pursue charges.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000, and Cynthia Stowe — known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe — is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a personal relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David Stowe subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The county later paid a $69,000 settlement to the fired employee.

David Stowe won't run again after he completes his second six-year term in December.







Cynthia Stowe won't face charges
Judge's ex-wife was arrested Sept. 6 in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
BY ART BUKOWSKI
The Record-Eagle
Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:14 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/latest-mobile/x1133189635/Cynthia-Stowe-wont-face-charges

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge's ex-wife won't face a felony child abuse charge in Florida.

Cynthia Stowe, ex-wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, was arrested in Cocoa Beach, Fla., on Sept. 6. Police there sought charges of felony child abuse and battery domestic violence, but authorities said they won't prosecute.

"We couldn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt," said David C. Koenig, an assistant state attorney involved in the case.

An arrest report from Florida contains accusations Stowe assaulted two victims, 17 and 18, after she drank alcohol. She was in an argument with one of the victims about her consumption of alcohol at the time of the incident, police said.

Koenig said he believed the two victims were Stowe's sons.

Stowe's attorney in Florida, Michael Bross, didn't return a call for comment.

Stowe was on probation in Grand Traverse County for contempt of court and drunken driving. Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer and 86th District Judge Thomas J. Phillips, who are handling her charges, both allowed her to move to Florida in separate July hearings.

She was ordered to continue reporting by phone to probation officers here, but Phillips and Batzer recently signed warrants for her arrest because she failed to comply with probation terms here after she moved south.

Among other problems, Stowe failed to provide results of breath tests, forged an Alcoholics Anonymous form and failed to call in to report, 86th District Court Administrator Carol Stocking said previously.

Stowe assaulted her then-husband David Stowe in their Long Lake Township home in January. That case eventually was resolved in a plea deal that added one year of probation to her drunken driving arrest, though she violated bond and was charged with perjury after authorities said she lied in a bond violation hearing.

The perjury charge was dismissed when she pleaded guilty to contempt of court. David Stowe won't run again after he completes his second six-year term in December.










Ex-wife of judge in trouble in Florida
BY ART BUKOWSKI
The Record-Eagle
Fri Sep 21, 2012, 08:29 PM EDT
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:2qfs87xeJgEJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1241959403/Ex-wife-of-judge-in-trouble-in-Florida+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

TRAVERSE CITY — A woman who repeatedly violated probation and bond conditions in Grand Traverse County faces more problems in Florida after local judges allowed her to move there.

Cynthia Stowe, ex-wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, was arrested in Cocoa Beach, Fla. on Sept. 6. Police there seek charges of felony child abuse and battery domestic violence, documents show, though Stowe has yet to be formally charged.

Stowe was on probation in Grand Traverse County for contempt of court and drunken diving, and Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer and 86th District Judge Thomas J. Phillips, who are handling her charges, both allowed her to move to Florida in separate July hearings.

She was ordered to continue reporting by phone to probation officers here.

An arrest report from Florida indicates Stowe assaulted two victim, 17 and 18, after she drank alcohol. She was in an argument with one of the victims about her consumption of alcohol when she began the assault, police said.

Aside from her Florida troubles, both Phillips and Batzer recently signed warrants for her arrest because she failed to comply with probation terms here after she moved south.

Among other problems, Stowe failed to provide results of breath tests, forged an Alcoholics Anonymous form and failed to call in to report, 86th District Court Administrator Carol Stocking said.

Stowe assaulted her then-husband David Stowe in their Long Lake Township home in January. That case eventually was resolved in a plea deal that added one year of probation to her drunken driving arrest, though she violated bond and was charged with perjury after authorities said she lied in a bond violation hearing.

The perjury charge was dismissed when she pleaded guilty to contempt of court.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000, and Cynthia Stowe - known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe - is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a personal relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David Stowe subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The County later paid a $69,000 settlement to that ex-employee.

Stowe and Curry married in early 2009, and divorce this year. Stowe isn't running again for that position and will step down at the end of the year.










Judge's wife allegedly violated probation
Local judge's wife in more trouble
June 17, 2012
The Record-Eagle
Traverse City
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UpiCDS1AHfYJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1406730213/Local-judges-wife-in-more-trouble+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - A local judge's wife violated probation again, authorities said.

Cynthia Stowe, wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, was arraigned Thursday on a probation violation bench warrant. She is required to avoid alcohol as part of her probation, and court officials said she failed an alcohol test.

She pleaded not guilty at the arraignment and was released on bond.

Stowe is on probation for a 2011 drunk driving conviction and a May conviction for contempt of court records show. A perjury charge was dismissed when she pleaded guilty to the contempt charge. The perjury count was issued after authorities said she lied during a previous probation violation hearing. David Stowe filed for divorce in March. he is not seeking re-election.











UPDATE: Wife of Grand Traverse County Judge Violated Probation Again
Posted: Jun 15, 2012 2:33 PM CDT
Updated: Jun 22, 2012 2:34 PM CDT
9 and 10 News
http://www.9and10news.com/story/18800630/update-wife-of-grand-traverse-county-judge-violated-probation-again

Court records show, the wife of a Grand Traverse County judge has violated her probation, again.

Cynthia is probate Judge David Stowe's wife.

Court records show she failed an alcohol breath test.

She was in court for the same violation back in April.

Last summer, Stowe was arrested for drunk driving, and last month, she admitted to assaulting her husband.

She pleaded not guilty in court yesterday.









Wife of Traverse City Judge Admits to Assaulting Husband
Posted: May 15, 2012 10:24 AM CDT
Updated: May 22, 2012 10:24 AM CDT
9 and 10 News
http://www.9and10news.com/story/18424456/wife-of-traverse-city-judge-admits-to-assaulting-husband

The wife of a Grand Traverse County judge has admitted to assaulting her husband.

Court records show that Cynthia Stowe failed an alcohol breath test back in April, violating her probation.

She's the wife of Probate Judge David Stowe. Cynthia pleaded guilty to the assault to avoid a felony charge.

Last summer she was arrested for drunk driving and in January she appeared in court for assaulting her husband.

She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, she has already served 22.

She will spend a year on probation and attend a substance abuse and mental health program.











Judge's wife takes a plea deal
BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
The Record-Eagle
Tue May 15, 2012, 07:14 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x227513877/Judges-wife-takes-plea-deal

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge's estranged wife pleaded guilty to assault and contempt of court in a plea deal to avoid a felony perjury charge.

Cynthia Marie Stowe, 50, appeared in 86th District Court on Monday morning and initially denied any inappropriate contact with Grand Traverse County Probate Court Judge David Stowe on the January night police were called to their Long Lake Township home. She told District Judge Thomas J. Phillips her 16-year-old son was the one pushing and shoving.

Defense attorney Craig Elhart coaxed Cynthia Stowe to acknowledge there had been physical contact between her and David Stowe during the incident.

"A textbook domestic violence case," said Special Prosecutor Charles Koop of Antrim County. "She had to acknowledge her behavior. That's very important. She never acknowledged her behavior before."

She admitted to the contempt of court charge. She tested positive for alcohol while on bond from a domestic violence charge, and testified under oath she had dinner at a restaurant with her oldest son and consumed a dessert that included alcohol. The son denied he had dined with his mother and Koop obtained evidence showing she had dinner on Valentine's Day with her husband. That violated a standard bond requirement for a domestic assault case, Koop said.

Phillips sentenced Cynthia Stowe to 30 days in jail with credit for 22 days served. She also must take part in a 90-day in-patient substance abuse and mental health treatment program and a year's probation.

"I think you need help and a lot of help," Phillips said.

Koop said allowing Stowe to plead to a misdemeanor will help her receive treatment which he said would be best for her and the community.











Cynthia Stowe's bond set at $500K
BY ART BUKOWSKI
The Record-Eagle
Fri Apr 27, 2012, 07:14 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1914775202/Cynthia-Stowes-bond-set-at-500K




TRAVERSE CITY — A judge set a high bond for a woman charged with lying under oath.

Cynthia Marie Stowe, 50, is charged with a felony perjury count. District Judge Thomas J. Phillips set her bond at $500,000 when he arraigned her on the charge Thursday morning.

Stowe is the estranged wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe. He filed for divorce in March.

Phillips said he set a high bond because he had concerns about Cynthia Stowe's history of violating bond on other criminal matters and the seriousness of the offense, among other items.

She remained in the Grand Traverse County Jail Thursday afternoon. The bond is set to be reviewed today at 8:45 a.m.

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Department investigators said Stowe lied under oath during a Feb. 22 bond violation hearing. She was out on bond after a January domestic violence arrest, and authorities said she violated bond by drinking alcohol.

She failed an alcohol test on Feb. 14, authorities said. At the bond violation hearing, she testified she was at a dinner with her son that night and failed the alcohol test because she ate a dessert containing alcohol.

Authorities later interviewed her son, who said he wasn't at the dinner. Instead, authorities found the dinner was paid for with a credit card belonging to David Stowe. The signature on the bill matched a known signature of David Stowe, court documents show.

The domestic violence charge ultimately was dismissed as part of a plea deal.








86th District Court
April 26, 2012
Leelanau News
http://www.leelanaunews.com/news/2012-04-26/Courts/86th_District_Court.html

Cynthia M. Stowe, 50, 9524 Echo Valley Dr., Traverse City — Probation violation hearing; pleaded guilty; sentenced to 90 days in jail with credit for 9 days served, balance held in abeyance; must immediately upon release from jail check into Center One and complete successfully, and then check into residential treatment and complete successfully or return to jail and wait for a bed to become available; $200 fines, $200 costs, $125 arresting agency fee.










Cynthia Stowe to be arraigned for Perjury
Charges stem from testimony at hearing
April 26, 2012
The Record-Eagle
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7edjRWAksQYJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1199104645/Cynthia-Stowe-to-be-arraigned-for-perjury+&cd=43&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - A local judge's wife faces a felony charge because investigators believe she lied under oath.

Cynthia Marie Stowe, 50, estranged wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, is charged with a felony count of perjury during court proceedings. Traverse City police arrested her Wednesday, and she is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. today.

The charge stems from statements she made at a Feb. 22 bond violation hearing. She was out on bond after a January domestic violence arrest, and authorities said she violated bond by drinking alcohol.

She failed an alcohol test on Feb. 14, authorities said. At the bond violation hearing, she testified she was at a dinner with her son at a restaurant at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville that night. Cynthia Stowe said at the hearing she failed the alcohol test because she ate a dessert containing alcohol.

Authorities later interviewed her son, who said she wasn't at the dinner. Instead authorities found the dinner was paid for with a credit car belonging to David Stowe. The signature on the bill matched a known signature of David Stowe, court documents show.

David Stowe declined comment when investigators tried to interview him, court documents show.

Antrim County Prosecutor Charles Koop - who is acting as special prosecutor - eventually dismissed the domestic violence charge against Cynthia Stowe in a plea deal that added one year probation to a September drunken driving conviction.

David Stowe couldn't be reached for comment late Wednesday. He filed for divorce in March.










Judge’s wife fails test, violates probation
April 19, 2012
Leelanau Enterprise
http://www.leelanaunews.com/news/2012-04-19/Courts/Judges_wife_fails_test_violates_probation.html

The wife of a Traverse City judge will appear today for a arraignment on a charge of violating probation on a drunk driving case in Leelanau County.

Cynthia Stowe turned herself in to the County Jail last week after allegedly failing an alcohol screening. The failed test would constitute a violation of the terms of her probation on a September drunk driving conviction in Leelanau County.

The Grand Traverse County woman assaulted her husband, Probate Court Judge David Stowe, in their home in January. That case was resolved through a plea agreement that added one year of probation on to her drunk driving arrest in Leelanau County.

Nineteenth Circuit Court Judge James Batzer of Benzie County held the hearing on the probation violation via telephone Friday afternoon. Batzer was appointed by the state court administrator’s office as the local judges all recused themselves because of their relationship with Judge Stowe, Magistrate Norene Kastys said.











Judge's wife arraigned on probation violation
The Record-Eagle
April 14, 2012
From staff reports
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Pjldgm3l10AJ:record-eagle.com/local/x333969105/Judges-wife-arraigned-on-probation-violation+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - A local judge's wife was arraigned on a probation violation.

Cynthia Stowe turned herself in Thursday and on Friday was arraigned in 86th District Court.

Court officials said the violation was issued because she failed an alcohol test.

Stowe, wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe was on probation for a drunken driving conviction.

A probation violation hearing is set for April 19.









Judge's wife allegedly violation probation
Bench warrant issued for arrest of Cynthia Stowe
April 12, 2012
Art Bukowski
The Record-Eagle
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:8IuujLfYZV4J:record-eagle.com/local/x333968864/Judges-wife-allegdly-violated-probation+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - A local judge's wife might go back to jail after authorities said she violated probation.

Cynthia Stowe recently failed an alcohol screen, court officials said. Circuit Judge James Batzer on Monday issued a bench warrant for her arrest because a failed test constitutes a violation of her probation on a September drunken driving conviction.

Stowe, the wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, hadn't yet been arrested Wednesday afternoon.

Stowe assaulted her husband in their Long Lake Township home in January. That case was resolved in a plea deal that added one year probation on to her drunken driving arrest.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 200, and Cynthia Stowe - known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe - is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David Stowe subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The county later paid a $69,000 settlement to that employee.

David Stowe filed for divorce on March 16, court records show. His term is up this year, and he previously said he won't run again.

Cynthia Stowe's attorney, Craig Elhart, declined comment.









Warrant out for arrest of judge's wife
April 11, 2012
The Record-Eagle
Art Bukowski
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sjaWSdR3plUJ:record-eagle.com/local/x611950094/Warrant-out-for-arrest-of-judges-wife+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Travese City - A judge's wife has a warrant out for her arrest after authorities said she violated probation.

Cynthia Stowe failed an alcohol screening, and a judge issued a warrant for her arrest Monday. She hadn't been arrested as of this morning. Stowe is the wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe.

Stowe in August was arrested for drunken driving, and in January was arrested after she assaulted David Stowe at their home. A year of probation was added to her drunken driving conviction after the assault.










Police Have an Arrest Warrant Out for the Wife of a Grand Traverse County Judge
Posted: Apr 11, 2012 6:09 PM CDT
Updated: Apr 18, 2012 6:10 PM CDT
9 and 10 News
http://www.9and10news.com/story/17389068/police-have-an-arrest-warrant-out-for-the-wife-of-a-grand-traverse-county-judge

Police have an arrest warrant out for the wife of a Grand Traverse County judge.

Court records show Cynthia Stowe failed an alcohol breath test, violating her probation.

Cynthia is probate Judge David Stowe's wife.

Last summer, she was arrested for drunk driving, and in January, she was in court for assaulting her husband.

A judge added an additional year of probation following the attack.









Editorial Asks, "Is This Judge a 'Criminal Justice Professonal'?"
Our view: Judge's decisions should cost him his post
The Traverse City Record Eagle
March 4, 2012

— The verdict is in: David Stowe needs to go — quickly and quietly into retirement.

Stowe, since 2000 a Grand Traverse County Probate Court judge, recently found himself in local headlines, thanks to an unflattering personal situation that directly reflects — and reflects badly — upon his role and behavior as a public official. Evidence strongly indicates Stowe's wife, Cynthia, assaulted him the evening of Jan. 30 at their Long Lake Township home, an incident that left David Stowe bloodied and prompted his wife's arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. Charges later were dropped in a deal that boosted her penalties from a previous drunken driving conviction, but those who investigated the case left little doubt Cynthia Stowe attacked her husband. In many ways it's a tragic story that suggests Cynthia Stowe's alcohol-inspired descent. But make no mistake, battered husband or not, David Stowe largely is responsible for his own physical and professional wounds. Ultimately, it's his deeply flawed decision-making that destroyed his legitimacy on the local court bench. His behavior on Jan. 30, an apparent effort to conceal his wife's actions, was unacceptable on many levels, particularly because his taxpayer-funded job demands he make rational decisions and abide by the law. The Record-Eagle obtained a copy of a 911 call Stowe's 16-year-old stepson made that night, and the recording is at once heart-breaking as the boy pleads with Stowe not to leave him alone with the boy's enraged, alcohol-soaked mother, and appalling, as Stowe appears to desperately seeks ways to subvert an impending investigation by an on-the-way sheriff's deputy. Stowe repeatedly told the boy he was leaving the house and suggested the boy leave, too. Their departures would have ensured that authorities didn't have immediate access to the potential victim and witness. It's despicable that a judge would entertain such a notion. Stowe told the 911 dispatcher he didn't know if his wife had been drinking. The boy was adamant she'd been drinking heavily. Stowe later refused to allow the by-the-book deputy to photograph his wounds. This is a criminal justice professional?

Some history: Not long after he became a judge, Stowe met his future wife, then named Cynthia Curry. At the time, Curry was divorcing her third husband and Stowe headed up child custody matters in their divorce. His penchant for bad decisions can be traced to 2002, when he hired Curry to work for him in the family court. Astonishingly, he maintained oversight of her custody case, and continued to do so after they began a physical relationship. And yes, she remained on the court's payroll. Stowe blithely, arrogantly ignored all those obvious ethical failings. In 2005, Cynthia Curry left the court for a job with a local social services agency that contracted with the court and Grand Traverse County. How coincidental was it that the county more than doubled its dole to that agency — from about $112,000 to $251,000 — shortly after Curry migrated to that new job? Then, a lawyer who worked for the court tried to report Stowe's shenanigans, including the improper relationship with Curry, to appropriate authorities. Word filtered back to Stowe and he fired the lawyer, Michael Stein. Stein threatened a whistleblower lawsuit and the county paid him about $70,000 and health insurance to stem that embarrassment. But the Stein settlement prompted a Record-Eagle investigation that exposed Stowe's behavior. The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission finally gave Stowe a little wrist slap, after state court "investigators" did their very best to look the other way. Curry and Stowe married in 2009. There's nothing wrong with showing empathy for David Stowe, the person. He made terrible personal and professional decisions that continue to haunt him. He's human. But his reckless behavior that continues today should cost him his black robe. Stowe's term expires this year and he immediately should announce his retirement at term's end, if not sooner. The public should expect — and demand — much more from their leaders.











Judge's wife released from jail
February 25, 2012
Brian McGillivary
The Record-Eagle
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JZTVAwa2a3YJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1513923359/Judges-wife-released-from-jail+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - Authorities dropped domestic assault charges against a local judge's wife and released her from jail after she agreed to stiffer probation requirements tied to a previous drunken-driving conviction.

Cynthia Stowe allegedly assaulted her husband, Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, on Jan 30 at their Long Lake Township home. On Friday, she agreed to an additional year of probation in a plea agreement with Special Prosecutor Charles Koop of Antrim County.

The defendant, in the people's opinion, has an alcohol problem that was not under control," Koop said. "The family was in crisis and needed some outside help. This will be addressed by the modified probation terms."

The new probation is stiffer than what's normally meted out for a first-time domestic violence conviction, Koop said. It also includes provisions for Cynthia Stowe, 50, to undergo substance abuse and domestic violence counseling and monitoring until August 2013.

Cynthia Stowe stood in court alone on Friday, dressed in jail orange and an oversized jail coat, and dabbed at tears. She spent two days in jail because she consumed alcohol, a violation of bond conditions placed on her after the domestic violence arrest.

David Stowe, in his courtroom one floor above the courtroom where his wife appeared, did not attend the hearing.

"It's a family matter and as much as I wanted to be there, it's not something I can involve myself in as a judge," David Stowe said.

Defense attorney, Craig Elhart called the plea deal a "satisfactory resolution for everyone," and said Cynthia Stowe would return home on Friday.

David Stowe and Elhart denied an assault occurred on Jan. 30.

Koop said he believes otherwise, but said it would be difficult to prove the case because David Stowe refused to cooperate with authorities and Cynthia Stowe's 16-year-old son - who called 911 that evening to report the incident - changed his story.

"These are hard cases and I didn't do this just because she is married to a judge," Koop said.

The son called 911 that evening to report his mother was drinking heavily and hitting his stepfather, David Stowe.

"She attempted to hit me," the son told the 911 dispatcher. "I blocked, and Dave has been getting in the way and she keeps hitting him across the face, like punching him hard."

"Yeah, I just had to do this," he told the dispatcher. "This has happened way too many times and it's gone too far this time."

When David Stowe discovered his stepson called 911 and deputies were on the eay, he told the boy he was leaving the house and that the teen should, as well. The boy pleaded for David Stowe to stay, according to the 911 recording the Record-Eagle obtained through a state Freedom of Information Act request.

"You can't leave," the boy said. "You have to stay, please. I need somebody to back me up, Dave."

David Stowe agreed to remain in the house after he spoke with the dispatcher.

Sheriff's deputies reported David Stowe was bleeding from scratches on his neck, but he refused to allow officers to photograph his injuries, Koop said.

The boy changed his story in a follow-up interview that didn't occur until Thursday because deputies couldn't locate him, Koop said.

"This is not uncommon in domestic violence cases where the person who is assaulted doesn't want to go forward," Koop said. "This is a good example of how domestic violence crosses all stratum. A lot of time we don't think of professional people being battered.

David Stowe said the incident provided him a sense of empathy for what others encounter in the criminal justice system, but he declined to discuss the incident.

"We all have issues in our personal life like anyone else and I'm hopeful that we respect the personal lives of people," David Stowe said.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000. Cynthia Stowe is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a romantic relationship while she worked for him; previous to Stowe's hiring of the then-Cynthia Curry, David Stowe oversaw child custody matters in her divorce case. David Stowe and Cynthia Curry married in early 2009.

Benzie Circuit Court Judge James Batzer in September sentenced Cynthia Stowe to a day in jail and a year of probation after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a high blood-alcohol content.

She was arrested Aug. 6 and police reported her blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the state's legal limit for intoxication.

She may yet face a probation violation hearing for that charge, and if she again violates her probation Koop can reinstate domestic violence charges.

Eighty-Sixth District Court Judge Michael Haley brokered Friday's plea deal through a phone conference with Batzer, but the deal doesn't take effect until Batzer signs the modified probation terms.









Judge's wife violates bond, goes to jail
February 23, 2012
Art Bukowski
The Record-Eagle
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Eu2Baf62i7IJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1222572165/Judges-wife-violates-bond-goes-to-jail+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - A local judge's wife went to jail after authorities said she violated her bond on a domestic violence arrest.

Cynthia Stowe, wife of Probate Judge David Stowe, tested positive for alcohol consumption on two separate breath test this month, authorities said. Bond set after a Jan. 30 domestic violence arrest required her to periodically blow into a home testing device.

Her bond included a provision that she not consume alcohol, among several other restrictions.

District Judge Michael Haley on Wednesday revoked Stowe's bond and sent her to jail pending the outcome of the domestic violence charge. She also was arraigned on that charge Wednesday.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff's deputies arrested Stowe after a January altercation at the Long Lake Township home where she lived with David Stowe. her son called police to say she had assaulted David Stowe, police said.

Defense attorney Craig Elhart on Wednesday asked for a hearing on the alleged bond violations. Cynthia Stowe, 50, blamed the failure of the alcohol tests on a dessert that contained rum and a medication given after a dental appointment. Haley wasn't sympathetic.

"That's just inane to offer that as an excuse," he said, of the rum dessert explanation.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000. Cynthia Stowe - known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe - is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The county later paid a $69,000 settlement to that ex-employee.

David and Cynthia married in early 2009.

A Benzie Circuit judge in September sentenced Cynthia Stowe to a day in jail and a year probation after she pleaded guily to a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a high-blood alcohol count.









86th District Court proceedings
February 13, 2012
Leelanau News
http://www.leelanaunews.com/news/OldArchive/News/86th_District_Court_proceedings_071.html

Cynthia M. Stowe, 50, 9524 Echo Valley Dr., Traverse City — Pleaded guilty to drunk driving with a blood alcohol content of .17 or greater; case was heard by Manistee County Circuit Court Judge James Batzer; to serve one day in jail with credit for one day served; to perform 40 hours of community service work; $500 fine; $500 court costs; $75 state crime victims fund; $53 state judicial fee; to attend, cooperate with and complete the Basic Awareness program; one year probation.









Judge's wife jailed in investigation
February 02, 2012
Art Bukowski
The Record-Eagle
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:etijFeFAPq8J:record-eagle.com/local/x154958417/Judges-wife-jailed-in-investigation+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - a local judge's wife faces a domestic violence charge after she assaulted him at the couple's residence.

Grand Traverse Prosecutor Alan Schneider said he'll seek a special prosecutor to weigh a charge against Cynthia Stowe, wife of Probate Judge David Stowe.

Grand Traverse sheriff's deputies arrested Cynthia Stowe, 50, after an altercation at the Long Lake Township home where she lives with David Stowe.

Undersheriff Nathan alger said deputies went to a residence on Echo Valley Drive on Monday about 9:40 p.m. after a child called to say his mother was assaulting his stepfather. Deputies found the male victim had "minor" injuries after an argument that "got out of control," Alger said.

"There were statements made that alcohol had been consumed by the suspect," he said.

Alger won't identify the suspect or the victim, but confirmed that Cynthia Stowe was booked into the Grand Traverse County Jail on Monday on a domestic violence charge. She was later released.

David Stowe didn't respond to requests for comment. Cynthia Stowe couldn't be recahed for comment. Attorney Craig Elhart, who represents the family, said the child who reported the incident is troubled and was acting out.

"There is no foundation in any respect to these allegations," he said. "We anticipate that once a special prosecutor looks at this, no charges will be filed."

Schneider said he won't handle the case because Cynthia Stowe is married to a judge who oversees cases handled by his office. He's attempting to find a local prosecutor who will handle the case, and one will be appointed by the Michigan Attorney General's Office if Schneider isn't successful.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000, and Cynthia Stowe - known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe - is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David Stowe subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The county later paid a$69,000 settlement to that ex-employee.

Stowe and Curry married in early 2009.

Benzie Circuit Judge James Batzer in September sentenced Cynthia Stowe to a day in jail and a year of probation after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a high blood alcohol content.

Her probation terms included completing community service, court officials said, but didn't include any prohibition of alcohol consumption.

David Stowe and Elhart denied an assault occurred on Jan. 30.

Koop said he believes otherwise, but said it would be difficult to prove the case because David Stowe refused to cooperate with authorities and Cynthia Stowe's 16-year-old son - who called 911 that evening to report the incident - changed his story.

"These are hard cases and I didn't do this just because she is married to a judge," Koop said.

The son called 911 that evening to report his mother was drinking heavily and hitting his stepfather, David Stowe.

"She attempted to hit me," the son told the 911 dispatcher. "I blocked, and Dave has been getting in the way and she keeps hitting him across the face, like punching him hard."

"Yeah, I just had to do this," he told the dispatcher. "This has happened way too many times and it's gone too far this time."

When David Stowe discovered his stepson called 911 and deputies were on the eay, he told the boy he was leaving the house and that the teen should, as well. The boy pleaded for David Stowe to stay, according to the 911 recording the Record-Eagle obtained through a state Freedom of Information Act request.

"You can't leave," the boy said. "You have to stay, please. I need somebody to back me up, Dave."

David Stowe agreed to remain in the house after he spoke with the dispatcher.

Sheriff's deputies reported David Stowe was bleeding from scratches on his neck, but he refused to allow officers to photograph his injuries, Koop said.

The boy changed his story in a follow-up interview that didn't occur until Thursday














Stowe 911 call. January 30, 2012

Dispatcher: Grand Traverse 911.

Caller: Hi, um, I would like to report, my mom is, she's drinking really heavily, and she's like, um, sorry about this, um, she's like hitting my stepdad and she cornering me, and trying to hit me and she's my mom, so I won't, we haven't done anything.

911: What's your name?

Caller: [gives name].

911: And what's your mom's name?

Caller: Cindy Stowe. And she's currently hitting him right now and throwing stuff at him.

911: She's hitting him?

Caller: David Stowe.

911: Ok, what's your address?

Caller: ____

911: Ok. In Long Lake Township?

Caller: Yes, that is.

911: OK. Does she have any weapons?

Caller: Um, there are weapons in the house, and she is really under the influence and she is like being very aggressive.

911: OK, has she gone for them, or has she?

Caller: No, she hasn't gone for the weapons; she's just been punching.

911: OK.

Caller: Like right in the face.

911: Are you injured at all?

Caller: No, um, she attempted to hit me. I blocked, and Dave has been getting in the way and she keeps hitting him across the face, like punching him hard.

911: OK, hold on one second. Can you tell me what? Hold on, sorry.

Caller: Yeah, I just had to do this. This has happened way too many times and it's gone too far this time. [Sigh]

Caller [to someone in background]: I told them she's gone too far, man.

[Pause] Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, don't leave.

Man: I have to. [Caller]

Caller: No you can't because there's an officer on his way.

Man: I'm leaving [Caller] !

Caller: You can't leave. you have to stay, please.

Man: I am leaving. I'm not staying.

Caller: I need somebody to back me up, Dave.

Man: [Caller], you need to leave, too.

Caller: I need somebody to back me up.

911: [Caller], can you get into a different room and shut the door?

Caller: Yeah. Dave is leaving so it's going to be her word againt mine.

911: What kind of vehicle does Dave have?

Caller [to man]: Dave, what kind of vehicle do you have?

Man: Would you give me the phone, please?

Caller [to man]: Don't lie, Dave.

Caller: This is Dave, OK?

Man: Hi. Who is this please?

911: This is Grand Traverse 911.

Man: Yeah, you know, um, [his] mother is upset.

911: Mm hmm.

Man: I'm leaving the home.

911: OK, an officer will want to speak with you.

Man: And she will be [unintelligible].

911: OK. Um, has she been drinking?

Man: I don't know.

911: OK. Has she gone for any of the weapons that are in the house?

Man: Oh, no, no, no.

911: OK. Are you injured at all?

Man: No, I'm not. Everything is fine.

911: An officer is coming and they are going to want to speak to you. Can you go into a different place and separate yourself from her? Or can we meet you somewhere?

Man: Um, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. I, um, I'll be happy to wait here.

911: OK.

Man: Thank you.

911: Yup. Bye, bye.














Judge's wife admits to 'very poor choice'
Guilty plea results in probation for 1 year, $1,300 fine
BY ALEX PIAZZA
September 8, 2011
Record-Eagle
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Tt3T8XHS4SMJ:record-eagle.com/local/x397274511/Judges-wife-admits-to-very-poor-choice/print+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

SUTTONS BAY — A local probate judge's wife will be on probation for a year and must pay about $1,300 in fees and fines after she pleaded guilty to what she considered "a very poor choice."

Benzie Circuit Judge James Batzer recently sentenced Cynthia Stowe, wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, to a day in jail and a year of probation after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of operating with a high blood-alcohol content.

She also is required to pay about $1,300 and complete 40 hours of community service.

"It was a serious poor, poor choice on my part," she said. "I'm not making any justification for this. I will regret it for the rest of my life. I have never put myself in this type of situation. That's not my lifestyle. It was just stupid."

On Aug. 6, Leelanau County sheriff's deputies stopped Cynthia Stowe's vehicle for erratic driving around 2:30 a.m. along Cherry Bend Road in Elmwood Township. She was the vehicle's lone occupant, and deputies said her blood-alcohol content at the time of the traffic stop was 0.23 and 0.24 percent. Deputies arrested Stowe and took her to the Leelanau County Jail, where she received credit for her day behind bars.

Prosecutors often charge motorists with operating with a high blood-alcohol content when their preliminary breath test registers higher than 0.17 percent, more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent to drive a vehicle.

The charge carries a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail, but Batzer said he ordered her to serve only a day because she did not have a criminal history.

"She didn't get a deal," Batzer said. "It's not unusual. Lots of people, on their first time, don't get jail."

The State Court Administrative Office assigned Batzer to the case after 86th District Court judges recused themselves because of their professional relationships with David Stowe. Batzer often only hears felony drunken-driving cases at the circuit court level.

Leelanau Prosecutor Joseph Hubbell said he wasn't surprised Batzer decided against a lengthier sentence.

"She's a first-time offender," Hubbell said. "First-time offenders don't go to jail. I don't believe Mrs. Stowe was treated any differently than anyone else was and I don't find any special treatment in her sentence."

Leelanau Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf agreed.

"Our job as law enforcement is to arrest," Oltersdorf said. "I'm not going to second-guess the prosecutor or the judge. Does this particular case look to be out of the ordinary? No."








Judges bow out of case with wife of colleague
Probate judge's spouse is facing DUI charge
BY ALEX PIAZZA
Traverse City Record-Eagle
August 16, 2011
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:xrtI2ILTubYJ:record-eagle.com/local/x1552634517/Judges-bow-out-of-case-with-wife-of-colleague/print+&cd=20&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

SUTTONS BAY — Eighty-sixth District Court judges won't hear a drunken driving case involving a local probate judge's wife.

Judges Thomas J. Phillips, Mike Stepka and Michael J. Haley recused themselves last week from a misdemeanor drunken-driving case involving Cynthia M. Stowe, wife of Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe.

The state court administrative office is expected to appoint a judge to hear Cynthia Stowe's case, likely someone who is not a probate judge and does not work in northwest Michigan. The three judges recused themselves because of their professional relationships with David Stowe.

"We share the same building, we do some of his docket when he's gone," Phillips said.

Cynthia Stowe, 50, faces a count of operating with a high blood-alcohol content, a misdemeanor crime that carries a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail. Her pretrial conference is set for Friday in Suttons Bay.

On Aug. 6, Leelanau County sheriff's deputies stopped her vehicle for erratic driving around 2:30 a.m. along Cherry Bend Road in Elmwood Township. She was the vehicle's lone occupant, and deputies said she failed a preliminary breath test, so they arrested her.

Prosecutors often charge motorists with operating with a high blood alcohol content when their preliminary breath test registers higher than 0.17 percent, more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 to drive a vehicle.

"My understanding is that she was cooperative and she didn't make any statements asking for any preferential treatment," Leelanau Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf said. "Just a routine traffic stop and drunk-driving investigation."

Cynthia Stowe didn't return calls for comment. David Stowe couldn't be reached for comment.











Judge to wed former employee
Relationship was focus of complaint against Stowe
December 30, 2008
The Record-Eagle
Brian McGillivary
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:F3YIB9O8zGUJ:record-eagle.com/local/x75065898/Judge-to-wed-former-employee+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Traverse City - Family Court Judge David Stowe's long-running personal relationship with a one-time employee recently earned him a slap on the wrist from a state agency.

Now, Stowe is trying the knot with Cynthia Curry, a woman he hired, and with whom he had a relationship while presiding over her divorce case.

Stowe, judge of Grand Traverse County's probate and family courts, and Curry applied for a marriage license at the county Clerk's office on Dec. 26.

It will be the second marriage for Stowe, 57, and the fifth for Curry, 47. They have 33 days to wed and validate the license.

Their relationship began while Curry worked for Stowe in the family court, where he oversaw custody matters in her divorce case. Stowe subsequently fired, then paid a $69,000 settlement to the county's family court administrator for reporting to county officicals.

Curry's ex-husband, Grand Traverse County resident Ronald Curry, this year lodged a complaint over Stowe's actions with the state agency that oversees Michigan judges.

The Judicial Tenure Commission took "corrective action" against Stowe in response to the allegations, but stopped short of filing a formal complaint that could have resulted in significant discipline.

"I'd be willing to bet there are still people who don't believe he had a relationship with Cindy," Ronald Curry said. "Well, now they know."

Stowe did not return messages seeking comment.

Stowe hired Cynthia Curry in 2002 as a juvenile probation officer, and they allegedly began a personal relationship by year's end. Stowe presided over Cynthia and Ronald Curry's divorce and ongoing custody issues from 2001 until 2006, when Ronald Curry complained of the relationship to court officials.

The Stowe-Curry relationship continued after she went to work for Holy Cross Children Services in 2005. Holy Cross received an influx of court funds-- it more than doubled to $251,837 -- after Cynthia Curry went to work for the agency to lead a new, court funded program.

Curry ended her employment with Holy Cross approximately two weeks ago, agency officials said.

Cynthia Curry also provided a diverse factor in Stowe's dealings with family court administrator Michael Stein. Stowe fired Stein in early 2007 after Stein reported Stowe's alleged actions to Grand Traverse County officials, who forwarded the allegations to the state.

Stein threatened a whistleblower lawsuit and Stowe paid Stein $69,000 from court coffers to prevent a suit, an agreement that prohibited him from making negative comments about Stowe's actions.









No formal complaint for family court judge
Commission stops short of formal discipline proceedings
BY BRIAN MCGILLIVARY
The Record-eagle
Sun Dec 07, 2008, 09:40 AM EST
http://record-eagle.com/local/x75064658/No-formal-complaint-for-family-court-judge

TRAVERSE CITY -- An agency that oversees Michigan judges took "corrective action" against local Probate Judge David Stowe in response to a misconduct complaint.

But the state's Judicial Tenure Commission stopped short of filing a formal complaint against Stowe, 57, a family court judge in Grand Traverse County, that could have resulted in significant discipline.

Stowe had a personal relationship with Cynthia Curry, who worked for him in the family court while he administered child custody matters in her divorce case. Stowe subsequently fired, then paid a $69,000 settlement to the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship.

Curry's ex-husband, county resident Ronald Curry, this year lodged a complaint with the Judicial Tenure Commission over Stowe's actions. Paul Fischer, executive director of the JTC, responded to Ronald Curry's complaint in a Nov. 12 letter.

"Occasionally, a judge's conduct falls short of the ideal judicial officer, yet does not warrant commencement of formal discipline proceedings," Fischer wrote. "In this matter, the Commission has taken an appropriate corrective action."

Fischer declined to explain the JTC's corrective action against Stowe. The commission's investigations are confidential unless referred to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Stowe did not return messages seeking comment.

Ronald Curry said he was disappointed by the JTC's decision.

"They say he didn't do anything illegal, but if you take taxpayer money, basically mine and yours, and pay off somebody to be quiet, how can that not be illegal," Curry said. "I just think they are really just screwing the system. They think that they are above the law and everything else."

Stowe hired Cynthia Curry in 2002 as a juvenile probation officer, and they allegedly began a personal relationship by year's end. Stowe also presided over Cynthia and Ronald Curry's divorce and ongoing custody issues from 2001 until 2006, when Ronald Curry complained of the relationship to court officials.

The Stowe-Curry relationship continued after she went to work for Holy Cross Children Services in 2005. Holy Cross received an influx of court funds -- it more than doubled to $251,837 -- after Cynthia Curry went to work for the agency.

Cynthia Curry also proved a divisive factor in Stowe's dealings with family court administrator Michael Stein. Stowe fired Stein in early 2007 after Stein reported Stowe's alleged actions to Grand Traverse County officials, who forwarded the allegations to the state.

Stein threatened a Whistleblower lawsuit and Stowe paid Stein $69,000 from court coffers to prevent a suit, an agreement that prohibited him from making negative comments about Stowe's actions









Probate judge pays settlement lawsuit
Stowe spends court funds to head off whistleblower suit
BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
The Record-Eagle
Mon Mar 31, 2008, 12:00 AM EDT
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:OfbhtE78_-sJ:record-eagle.com/local/x75050810/Probate-judge-pays-to-settle-lawsuit+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us



TRAVERSE CITY -- A Grand Traverse County judge used nearly $70,000 in public money to settle a threatened lawsuit that could have exposed his personal relationship with a woman who worked for him.

Probate Judge David L. Stowe last year spent court funds he controlled to head off a possible whistleblower suit by Michael Stein, former top administrator for the 13th Circuit Court's Family Division.

Stowe fired Stein in March 2007 after learning the State Court Administrator's Office closed a probe of alleged impropriety between the judge and Cynthia Marie Curry, a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The state's investigation was based on a complaint Stein filed with Grand Traverse County officials in January 2007, when he alleged irregularities in thousands of dollars worth of financial contracts between Stowe's court and Curry and her new employer.

County officials forwarded Stein's complaint to the State Court Administrator's Office, an agency that investigates alleged wrongdoing in court operations.

When the state ended its review, Stowe fired Stein, a lawyer and former assistant prosecutor in Grand Traverse County. Stein responded by threatening a lawsuit under the Whistleblower Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who expose alleged wrongdoing.

In June 2007, the county averted a lawsuit and paid Stein $68,833. He also was provided a positive recommendation, according to county documents obtained by the Record-Eagle under the state Freedom of Information Act and through the circuit court.

Terms of the agreement show both Stein and Stowe agreed not to allege either party acted "inappropriately" prior to June 6, 2007. Stein said a confidentiality clause prevented him from commenting on the settlement.

Relationship alleged

A Record-Eagle investigation into the Stowe-Stein settlement uncovered an intimate relationship between Stowe, 56, and Curry, 46, that allegedly began late in 2002.

Stowe won election to the Probate Court in November 2000 in an uncontested race. He met Cynthia Curry in 2001, when Stowe presided over her divorce from Ronald Curry. The divorce was finalized in early 2002.

By April 2002, Cynthia Curry had a job working as a juvenile probation officer in Stowe's court.

Stowe continued to supervise child custody matters stemming from Cynthia Curry's divorce after she took the probation officer position, even after they began their personal relationship, according to court documents and interviews.

Stowe refused repeated requests from the Record-Eagle to discuss his relationship with Curry, including when it began.

"If you just speak to knowledgeable people in the community you could easily be dissuaded from disparaging our court," he said in his lone on-the-record statement to the Record-Eagle.

Public exposure of Stowe's alleged relationship with Curry while she worked for him could prove troubling for the judge, a legal expert said.

"If the judge made any rulings on the divorce case after the relationship began, that could lead to a challenge to those rulings and perhaps even an investigation by the Judicial Tenure Commission if a complaint is filed," said Peter J. Henning, professor of law at Wayne State University.

Henning said Stowe also might have been required to disqualify himself from some, but not necessarily all, cases in which Curry was involved as a juvenile probation officer, depending on the case.

Judge Thomas Power, who served as chief judge of the 13th Circuit Court when Stein made his complaint, took over the Curry child custody file in February 2006, shortly after Stowe recused himself from the case without explanation.

Power said he did not know why Stowe disqualified himself from the case, nor why Stowe didn't disqualify himself earlier, when he hired Cynthia Curry.

"If it's someone the judge works with routinely, we've had that come up before and we've disqualified ourselves," Power said. "It doesn't look right."

Power declined to comment on Stowe's alleged relationship with Curry because, "I personally don't have any direct knowledge of the facts."

Power reviewed the Curry divorce file and said Stowe's decisions after 2002 all were pro forma decisions. Some of the signatures were stamps, and others were his signature on an order made by a referee.

"There are hundreds of these standing orders that come through every month," Power said. "It is credible he might have signed these without knowing it was Cindy Curry's case. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."

Friendly terms

Cynthia Curry's ex-husband, Ronald Curry, contends he knows why Stowe suddenly recused himself from their custody case.

Curry said he informed county Friend of the Court caseworker Alan Crocker of a relationship between his ex-wife and Stowe in late 2005. Crocker said he is not allowed to comment about individual cases.

Ronald Curry said he remained on friendly terms with his ex-wife and he occasionally did household repairs for her after the divorce. He said he and Cynthia were watching television at her home on one occasion in mid-2002 when Stowe called and asked how she was getting along.

Ronald Curry contends his ex-wife and Stowe began dating by late 2002. He says he never saw the two together, but Cynthia Curry acknowledged seeing Stowe, Curry said.

Early in 2003, Ronald Curry was called before the court for failure to pay child support to Friend of the Court. However, court documents show Ronald Curry's employer withheld child support from his check but failed to forward the money to the court. The employer was fined $100 and ordered to pay restitution.

That year, Cynthia asked Ronald Curry to waive child visitation to her two children from a previous marriage whom he'd adopted. In exchange, he wouldn't have to make child support payments.

"She told me that she wanted David Stowe to be the father figure in their lives," Ronald Curry said.

In June 2003, Stowe filed for divorce from his wife of 19 years.

Curry changes jobs

Curry resigned her job in Stowe's office in February 2005 to become director of a new day treatment program for juveniles in the court system called STRIDES, run by Holy Cross Children's Services.

Doug Turrill, division manager for Holy Cross in Traverse City, said he'd discussed a day treatment program with the county as far back as 2000, and it was approved late in 2004.

Turrill said Curry was not involved in discussions about starting the day treatment program. However, Stein, then Stowe's administrator, recommended he consider hiring her to run it.

Holy Cross provides secure and non-secure detention services to the court and conducted $112,174 in business with the county in 2004.

The following year, with Curry running the STRIDES program, Holy Cross' revenues from Grand Traverse County's court system jumped to $251,837, more than double the previous year.

But STRIDES ran out of gas after a year. Stein said in his complaint to the county that although he helped Curry get the job, the program began to "fall apart" under her direction.

"It was apparent to all probation officers, counselors, and others associated with the program Cindy (Curry) was unable to run the program, especially in a counseling manner," Stein wrote.

Two of the people named by Stein as complaining about the program did not return calls seeking comment. Two others confirmed they expressed some concerns about the day treatment program. They were not contacted by the state Court Administrator's Office during its probe.

Turrill said the program ended after about a year due to lack of referred children and program funding.

"It was a good program, it might go again," he said. "Did we make everybody happy? No."

At the same time Cindy Curry ran the STRIDES program, Stowe entered into a separate contract with Life Lines, a company she ran. That contract paid her $60 a week to run a weight-lifting and nutrition program for girls on probation.

Esther Cooper, the Probate Court's office manager, said Curry ran the program for girls while she was a probation officer. When she left, no one was available to supervise it, so the court contracted with Curry. She was paid a total of $3,070.

Stein alleged in his complaint that Curry took a $3,000 pay cut when she moved from the county to Holy Cross. He also alleged that probation officers reported that Curry didn't show up for most of the weight-lifting appointments at a local health club.

Stein said Stowe told Cooper to "just pay her (Curry)."

Cooper said it wasn't her role to monitor the contract.

'No basis for ... further action'

On Feb. 28, 2007, James Covault of the State Court Administrator's Office in Gaylord wrote to Stein that his office had completed an investigation of Stein's "non-employment related allegations."

"This office has determined there is no basis for taking any further action," Covault wrote. "Accordingly, the file in this matter has been closed."

Covault refused to speak with the Record-Eagle.

State Supreme Court spokeswoman Marcia McBrien said the regional office did a complete investigation, but didn't look into employment-based allegations included in Stein's complaint.

"Apparently, there was a complaint about relationships between the judge and staff," McBrien said.

Cynthia Curry told the Record-Eagle in a brief conversation that she was not informed of a state investigation into her relationship with Stowe. She then declined further comment and did not respond to repeated attempts by the Record-Eagle to contact her about this story.

County documents obtained by the Record-Eagle through FOIA show Stowe told Stein he was "raked over the coals" by the State Court Administrator's Office during its investigation. But other than Stowe, no one listed as witnesses in Stein's complaint said they were contacted by the SCAO.

Stein also said in his complaint that anyone who confronted either Curry or Stowe about Curry's work didn't last long at the court.

"Dave (Stowe) and I used to be friends before all of this happened with Cindy (Curry)," he said in his complaint.

Two months later he was fired.