HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — An embattled Ottawa County judge is under fire again, this time for allegedly calling a defendant who missed a court appearance and leaving a voicemail.
Hudsonville District Court Judge Kenneth Post is no stranger to headlines. He’s well known for being tough on cases of minors in possession and he was forced off the bench for 30 days in 2013 for throwing an attorney in jail for contempt.
The same law firm that clashed with Post in 2013 now wants him pulled off another case, saying Post left their client a “threatening” voicemail.
24 Hour News 8 obtained a transcript of that message, which reads:
“Mr. Mallery, this is Judge Kenneth Post calling. I’m calling with regard to your case number six-four-zero-two-five. Your attorney, Mr. Purdy, is in court. We’re waiting for you because you’re supposed to be here today. You missed a drug test yesterday and it would appear as though you’re not coming today, so a bench warrant is being issued for your arrest. My strong suggestion is that you, uhhh, when you get this message you keep going because if I find you, it will not be pleasant. Have a good day.”
The voicemail was left on Philip Mallery’s phone — allegedly by Post — on June 11, just half an hour after Mallery missed a court appearance for a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license.
Mallery’s attorneys have filed a motion to disqualify Post from his case.
“It seems clear that it’s threatening,” said Mallery’s attorney Josh Blanchard. “He [Post] doesn’t know why this person failed to appear for court yet. He doesn’t know if he had a car accident, flat tire, his wife died — he has no idea.”
Blanchard would not comment on why his client missed the court appearance.
Mallery does have a lengthy criminal record, including two prior appearances in the same courtroom for operating while intoxicated and a breaking and entering charge. Additionally, just this week — after the missed court appearance — he was charged with a felony for drug possession.
Still, Mallery’s attorney says any prior interaction with Post does not justify the voicemail.
“If he had contact with him, I don’t think that even justifies what happens here,” Blanchard said. “I think every time we expect a judge to look at the facts of that case and make a decision. If a judge has had prior contact with someone and will treat them differently and unfairly, I don’t think that’s appropriate and I think that’s a basis to disqualify a judge.”
A couple of legal experts told 24 Hour News 8 they have never heard of a judge actually calling a defendant in a district court case. One of those experts described the context of the message as “injudicious.”
Mallery’s attorney is also asking the Judicial Tenure Commission to review the voicemails.
Next month, Post will have to decide whether to recuse himself from the case.
During attempts to contact Post on Wednesday at both at his office and at a home phone number, 24 Hour News 8 was told he was on vacation. Calls were not returns Wednesday afternoon.