ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) — A man convicted of criminal sexual conduct doesn’t deserve a new trial despite learning that the judge was sharing her opinion of the case through emails with the county prosecutor, the Michigan Court of Appeals said.
Daniel Loew had been granted a new trial, but the 2-1 decision by the appeals court reversed that decision Thursday.
“The record does not support even an inference that the emails provided any advantage or altered any tactics by the prosecution,” the court said.
An Allegan County jury in 2019 convicted Loew of criminal sexual conduct. Judge Margaret Zuzich-Bakker sentenced him to at least 20 years in prison.
It turned out that the judge had sent emails to prosecutor Myrene Koch during the trial, asking a question about the victim and offering an unflattering opinion about state police.
“This trooper didn’t do a very good investigation. Don’t they have detectives anymore?” Zuzich-Bakker said.
Koch said she wasn’t directly involved in Loew’s trial and didn’t share the judge’s opinions with an assistant prosecutor.
The emails were obtained by Michael Villar, who challenged Koch in the 2020 Republican primary but lost by 17 votes.