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Michigan candidate held in contempt related to divorce

Ending a marriage is a different experience for every couple. Some couples divorce with grace and understanding, while others are simply not able to put their disagreements aside for the purpose of reaching an amicable settlement. And apparently even our Michigan politicians and lawmakers are susceptible to this emotional downfall.

A candidate for the Republican state House in Michigan’s 73rd District, Brian Downs, recently spent some time in Kent County Jail. Downs is still fighting a divorce case that started back in 2000, and when he failed to keep track of his expenses as ordered by the judge in the case, the judge charged him with contempt of court.

The divorce case began in Arizona but starting in 2002 it moved under the jurisdiction of Kent County Family Court. Downs is actually representing himself in the case. The court ordered him to keep a detailed record of any purchases over $25. The House candidate admits that he was not complying with this order but claims that it was because the judge in the case was withholding his mail or not delivering it to Downs in a timely manner.

Downs only spent two nights in jail and he appears confident in his stance. Downs claims that the judge violated his judicial ethics in his handling of the case. Oddly enough, the two men, Downs and the judge, were both running for office against each other in 2008. During that time, the judge recused himself from the divorce matter but was recently reassigned to the case.

Regardless of the political history between these two men, the story demonstrates the importance of abiding by court orders in the event of a divorce, legal separation or other family law matter. There are consequences to actions and although divorce can be a difficult time, no one wants to make it worse by having to serve time in jail.

Source:, “West Michigan candidate arrested for alleged contempt of court, spent weekend in jail,” Andrew Krietz, April 28, 2014