“I’m running for an office right now,” Julie McDonald told a Royal Oak Police officer after she was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. “This will (expletive) me up really bad.”McDonald is running unopposed in next month's election for a six-year seat on the Oakland County Circuit bench.
Shalina Kumar, chief judge of Oakland County Circuit Court, said she was monitoring the case until there is a conclusion, adding, "Elected officials are expected to live up to the highest standards of professional and personal conduct."
The State Court Administrative Office also is monitoring the case, said John Nevin, a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court. Nevin said the Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges and candidates to "respect and observe the law." It was unclear Tuesday what the impact on McDonald might be.
She has pleaded not guilty.
Police said McDonald was cooperative and orderly during the stop.
According to the police report and video obtained by the Free Press under the Freedom of Information Act, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe she was driving was ahead of a police cruiser on 11 Mile Road near Woodward Avenue when McDonald tossed a cigarette out of the window. Then she turned north onto Woodward without using her blinker. The Tahoe was driving 54 mph in a 45-mph zone, police said.
“The world’s not your garbage can,” Kucel told her after the stop.
He smelled “alcoholic intoxicants” inside the SUV and said McDonald's eyes were "watery and bloodshot," his report said.
McDonald said she had four vodka and soda mixed drinks the night before between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., police said.
“I’m going to have you step on out of the car,” Kucel told her. “I just want to make sure that you’re OK to drive.”
He asked McDonald to perform field sobriety tests and said she could not maintain her balance during several tests.
McDonald successfully said the alphabet from K to V, but when asked to count backward from 54 to 37, she counted from 54 to 39. Video of her arrest shows McDonald getting to 39 and asking police if she was supposed to stop at 39 or 37.
She asked to call her attorney before she performed a preliminary breath test, and police allowed it. Police cited McDonald for operating while intoxicated, littering and no proof of insurance.
The registration and insurance certificates she handed to the officer were expired, the report said.
"Are you bringing me to jail?” McDonald asked from the back seat of the police cruiser.
“I am,” he responded.
She later says: "I don't drink and drive."
After McDonald told police she was running for office and the arrest would affect her, the officer responded he did not have discretion to bend the rules.
“I got it.” McDonald said.
When the officer got out of the patrol car, McDonald made a call on her cellphone from the back seat.
"I’m screwed ... please come help me, please," she said on the call.
McDonald’s next court date is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Royal Oak's 44th District Court, records show.
In a questionnaire filled out during her campaign, McDonald, who works as a judicial staff attorney in Wayne County, said she had been an attorney for 23 years. She said she had never been convicted of a crime and had no substance abuse issues that would hinder working as a judge.
She named her father, retired Oakland County Circuit Judge John McDonald, as a judge she admires.
“He has guided me and influenced me throughout my personal life and professional career,” she said in the questionnaire. “And if elected, I will strive to be as well-respected of a jurist as him.”
Contact Elisha Anderson: email@example.com or 313-222-5144