'I regret overstepping.' Bernstein apologizes to Bolden after criticism of hiring

Michigan Supreme Court
Posted at 1:33 PM, Jan 10, 2023

A Michigan Supreme Court justice apologized to a fellow justice Monday for harshly criticizing her hiring of an ex-convict to serve as a law clerk.

Justice Richard Bernstein issued a statement saying he apologized to Justice Kyra Harris Bolden in person at the Hall of Justice and that she accepted his apology.

Related: State Supreme Court law clerk resigns after criticism of his past

“I regret overstepping Justice Bolden’s hiring process and should not have disturbed her ability to lead her Chambers,” Bernstein said.

Bolden had hired Pete Martel, 48, who served 14 years in prison after robbing a Flint-area store and shooting at police officers. He was released in 2008, changed his life and obtained a degree from Wayne State University law school.

Bernstein also apologized to Martel.

“Mr. Martel is not an elected official and my actions invited people into his life in a way that he had not signed up for and he deserved more consideration,” Bernstein said.

“I am committed to working with Justice Bolden in the coming years to advance our many shared values, including immediately working to expand opportunities in the legal field for those who have repaid their debts to society,” the statement continued.

Bolden said last week that she accepted Martel's resignation after Bernstein's criticism.

"He did not want to be a distraction or in any way divert the court from its important work,” Bolden said.