Wake County Judge Michael Denning: 'China Wouldn't Be So Bad If It Weren't for All the Chinese' | News
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Wake County Judge Michael Denning: 'China Wouldn't Be So Bad If It Weren't for All the Chinese'

Posted by on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 4:25 PM

click to enlarge DENNING'S CAMPAIGN
  • Denning's campaign
Little-known fact: There is another primary election tomorrow, June 7. The INDY made its endorsements last week. You can peruse those here before you go vote. 

One of the races is for judge in Wake County Superior Court District 10C—the northwest part of the county. We've endorsed Becky Holt, who has worked in the Wake County District Attorney's Office for twenty-seven years.

One of the other candidates—Tuesday's nonpartisan primary will narrow the race from five candidates to two—is Michael Denning, who is currently a judge in Wake County District Court. Denning was elected to the bench in 2010, and ran unopposed in 2014.

In 2013, a family court case, McDade v. McDade, came before Judge Denning. Though the defendant, Stacy Lynn McDade, requested that Denning recuse himself from the case due to his personal and professional connections with the plaintiff, Denning refused. In 2015, Stacy McDade took her request to Chief District Court Judge Robert B. Rader, who found good cause to assign a different judge to the case.

Before Denning was removed due to the conflict of interest, though, he made some interesting comments from the bench. 

According to his website bio, Denning served in the U.S. Marine Corps "as a Marine Security Guard at U.S. Embassies in China, Japan, and Indonesia." The experience apparently did not instill in him an appreciation of other cultures. The INDY reviewed an audio recording of a custody hearing in the McDade v. McDade case during which Denning, pontificating before making a ruling, says the following:
“Raising a child as a single parent and a separate parent reminds me of something we used to say a lot when I was stationed in China: China wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for all the Chinese. It was very difficult to deal with and adjust with the local culture. Parenting a child is the same way.”
A few questions spring to mind here: What does a custody dispute have to do with adjusting to the culture in another country? Why doesn't Judge Michael Denning like Chinese people? Does Judge Michael Denning's apparent distaste for "the Chinese" inform his rulings? And shouldn't a sitting judge be disciplined for making these kinds of comments from the bench?  

Oh, and one more: That's a thing you guys used to say a lot when you were stationed in China?

We tried to ask Denning these questions by contacting him through his office at the Wake County District Court and his campaign website. We've not heard back. We will update this post if we do. 

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