Not wearing a robe does not divest the judge of his authority. However, he or she can be reprimanded by the chief judge or state court administrator in cases of state judges.
I never heard of a judicial robe being anything but costuming in this day and age, nor ever heard of the absence of a robe mattering with respect to the question whether a judge was acting in his or her judicial capacity or not.
Not legal advice, just general information. Consult Michigan counsel to obtain legal advice. I practice in Vermont ONLY.
I practiced in Michigan for awhile and I am still admitted there, I can't recall seeing a judge take the bench without a robe on, but I am not aware of any rule that would void there rulings if they did so? What does it matter, are you trying to void an unfavorable ruling?
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I have never seen a federal court judge (or state court judge for that matter) take the bench without a robe. However, the robe does not vest the judge with authority and the lack of a robe does not divest the judge of any authority.
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I knew a judge who would NEVER wear a robe; he said it a costume and he is not about to wear a white wig either. If the best defense your case has is that you think the judge should have been wearing a robe, you had better keep thinking. That is a non issue.
It is the judicial office, not the robe, which vests authority in the judge. I am glad that they do not make attorneys wear wigs in the courtroom. It is hot in the summer.
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A Federal judge — nominated by the President of the United States, and confirmed by at least 51 sitting US Senators — derives his or her authority from the Constitution, not a glorified black bedsheet.
If this is the best you have, you a grasping at far less than straws.