He was narrowly elected to that post in a race riddled with scandal and election fraud. Former Circuit Court judges Corsiglia and Beach both raised concerns over this matter. Because of the botched recount in the 2008 election , they wrote to State Attorney General Mike Cox:
“We have grave concerns over the integrity of the Nov. 2, 2010, elections in Allegan County…. We’re just concerned, making sure, if anybody wants a recount, they can possibly get one in Allegan County.”
The recount had been conducted by County Clerk Joyce Watts, whose husband John (who was involved in felony activities in 2007-2008 ) had partnered with Judge Cronin in suing the Circuit Court judges and essential personnel in 2003 , and whose son Jason was a principal player in the Cronin campaign. Around the time of the recount and days prior, Jason Watts “was reported to have special access to his mother’s office.”
The case against the township clerks who were responsible for the ballot boxes which could not be counted to to tampering, conveniently, landed in Judge Cronin’s courtroom. Though asked to disqualify himself, given his personal political interest in the case’s outcome, he, in a clear breach of ethics, refused to step down from hearing the case, in which he found, of course, in favor of the clerks.
Judge Cronin had previously made an unsuccessful run for the Probate Court bench, losing to Judge Michael Buck who garnered over double the number of votes that he had pulled. This was in 2000, just 3 years before Judge Cronin’s lawsuit against all the judges of the Family Court (consisting of the Circuit and Probate courts).
Another problematic element in the course of the 2008 election were the false accusations the Cronin campaign leveled at opponent William Baillargeon. In one series of ads, Cronin’s campaign and supporting organizations accused Baillargeon of being against the Sex Offender Registry. Allegan County Undersheriff Jim Hull countered the accusation thus:
““He has overturned other judges’ failures to put people on the sex offender registry, in his own court. He’s an adament supporter of it.”
In fact, it is Cronin who, of the two, is lighter on sex offenders. In the case of a Hamilton girls’ basketball coach (Jerome Moses) who was found to be in possession of nude photographs of a 15-year-old student to whom he had sent sexually explicit emails, Judge Cronin altered the charges in order to keep the sexual-deviant Moses off the Sex Offender Registry, stating that Moses’s actions were “not that serious.” Judge Cronin felt that 75 days in jail was a sufficient sentence.
In several custody cases on Judge Cronin’s docket, it is obvious that the best interests of children is not as high a concern for him as is forwarding his apparent anti-mother bias.
In the 2012 case of Graves v. DeHaan, Judge Cronin granted custody of 3 minor children to their father (DeHaan), a drug addict not yet in treatment. Their mother sought custody, and Judge Cronin denied the request, only allowing her to temporarily keep the children while DeHaan was in residential rehab, after completion of which, the children were to be returned to the father. The mother in the case has no drug or alcohol history, no history of mental illness, and no history of committing domestic violence, in contrast to DeHaan whose history is replete with all of these.
Another lightening rod case on Judge Cronin’s docket is Melinn v. Melinn. The father in this case, Blake Melinn, was convicted of domestic violence by another court in 1998 over an incident wherein he beat his then-wife Maria so severely that her face was abraded and her back was broken. She took their 3 children and left. Her abuser later sought custody of the children and won based on the argument that Maria could not adequately care for the children because she had a broken back. She has petitioned Judge Cronin countless times asking for a reversal of that decision, but her pleas for justice have all been denied. All three children in Blake’s care have PTSD and other psychological issues due to the abuse they witnessed against their mother and abuses directly suffered by them at their father’s hand, as documented in CPS reports from hospital personnel, school counselors and teachers, counselors, clergymen, and law enforcement.
Judge Cronin has taken a personal interest in Maria, a domestic violence victims’ advocate, that moves beyond his courtroom, stalking her on blog sites online  and even showing up to her domestic violence advocacy speaking engagements in order to ambush and threaten her. Such conduct places him in violation of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct:
“A judge should abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court, and should require a similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to the judge’s direction and control.”
He has been asked to recuse himself from this case and has refused.
- John Agar, “Challenger defeats judge in Allegan County, but more than half of precincts unable to perform recount,” mLive (6 Dec 2008).
- Idem., “Judges have ‘grave concerns’ about Allegan County elections, ask for attorney general to monitor November vote,” mLive (5 Oct 2010).
- Gary Stevens, “Two Criminal Cases Highlight Allegan Co. Court Docket,” WHTC (8 Oct 2010); Leon Hendrix, “Attorney Charged with Five Felonies: John Watts Turned Himself In,” WOOD-TV8 (1 Sep 2010); Lynn Turner, “Attorney John Watts, husband of Allegan County clerk, ordered to pay restitution in embezzlement case,” Kalamazoo Gazette (25 Jul 2011).
- Watts, Cronin, & Marks v. Beach, Corsiglia, Buck, Day, et al. (2003)
- Agar, “Judges have ‘grave concerns’…,” op. cit.
- Agar, “Challenger defeats judge in Allegan County…,” op. cit.; Jim Hayden, “Judge Baillargeon recalls 2008 mix-up during clerks’ court hearing,” Holland Sentinel (21 Apr 2011).
- 2000 Probate Court election results
- Undersheriff Jim Hull; in Megan Schmidt, “Allegan County Judge Dismisses Attack Ads,” Holland Sentinel (23 Oct 2008).
- “Cronin Rulings Block Sex Offenders from Having to Register as Such,” Recall Judge Cronin (Oct 2010).
- Jim Hayden, “Coach gets jail, but won’t be labeled as a sex offender,” Holland Sentinel (9 Oct 2010).
- “Gives Custodial Preference to Violent Addict over Healthy Mother,” Recall Judge Cronin (Nov 2011).
- Domestic Assault Police Report (July 1998)
- Judgepedia #Melinn v Melinn (accessed April 2013); “Ignored Letters from Licensed Counselors,” Recall Judge Cronin (2009).
- Kevin Cronin (commenter); in “Kevin Cronin Jails Disabled Mother,” Parenting Network News (26 Mar 2010).
- William M Windsor, “Bill Windsor of Lawless America tells Michigan family court Judge Kevin Cronin that he’s a criminal,” Lawless America (28 Jul 2012); n.a., “Lawless America confronts Judge Cronin,” News & Views from Riverside Superior Court & National Family Law Abuse (4 Oct 2012)
- Canon 3, Section A, Item 6
- Case No. 02-31493-DM, Motion to Disqualify the Honorable Kevin Cronin (filed March 2012).