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Judge Caretti speaks out after girlfriend arrested for drunk driving

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By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News


MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WJBK) -- "I think Judge Caretti should have been charged with child endangerment," Lori Conway, the judge's ex-wife, said.

We first introduced you to Lori on Tuesday when her ex-husband's girlfriend, Brenda Conway, was charged with drunk driving.  The two women have the same last name because they are distantly related through marriage.

But Brenda Conway was arrested Saturday night.  Police say she blew a 0.18.  In her car with her were Lori's twelve and 15-year-old daughters and Lori's ex-husband, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Richard Caretti.

"He should be held to the same standard or a higher standard," Lori Conway said.

Judge Caretti, his girlfriend and daughters had been at a wedding reception in Macomb.  They were taking the girls back to their mother's home in Franklin.

Lori says the judge asked their 15-year-old daughter to drive, but she didn't feel comfortable.  Next the daughter texted Lori from the car to say Brenda was driving drunk.

Lori called Franklin Police, who arrested Brenda when she pulled in.  Her car impounded, police dropped Caretti off at a nearby restaurant so he could call for a ride home.

Lori accuses him of being drunk, letting his drunk girlfriend drive and endangering their children.  Caretti was not charged, but police reported him to Child Protective Services and state investigators have already interviewed the children and Lori.

I tried calling Judge Caretti Tuesday and Wednesday, but never heard back.  We wanted his side of the story, so we went to the courthouse where he agreed to give us a statement, but said he didn't want to take any questions.

"I had only two or three drinks over the course of seven hours at the hall and was certainly not intoxicated at midnight when we arrived at my ex-wife's house as my very vindictive and inaccurate ex-wife claimed when you interviewed her."

Caretti told us he was visiting with relatives and spent little time with his date that night.

"When we left the hall, I had absolutely no idea that her ability to drive may have been impaired.  She seemed completely fine and normal.  If I had any indication whatsoever that she may have been impaired, I would never have allowed her to drive my children.  She drove because she appeared fine and it was her vehicle.  My daughter, who has her permit, always wants to drive, so I asked her if she wanted to drive for that reason only.  Brenda's driving from the hall to my ex-wife's home was excellent as she abided by all applicable traffic laws."

We've posted a video of the judge's complete statement above.

But Lori says the children described a frightening ride home hitting rumble strips and swerving with Caretti yelling at his girlfriend.

"Obviously this is a problem that needs to be investigated and it will," remarked Fox 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton, who says the whole mess could spell trouble for Caretti and the Judicial Tenure Commission could investigate.

As for the judge, he'll tell you, "I do not anticipate any adverse JTC or Child Protective Services consequences as I did nothing wrong."

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