Judge Joe Brown is still very upset about the five days he was sentenced to serve in a Memphis jail for contempt of court. He claimed in a recent interview that his legal troubles have a lot less to do with his behavior, and a great deal more to do with his bid for District Attorney. Brown is running for the office in the same town as this arrest, and where he once served as a criminal judge.
Brown said he went to observe how things were going in a Shelby county juvenile court, much like he has done on numerous occasions, but was horrified by what he witnessed.
“I saw a woman get done horribly wrong,” said the judge. “She came and asked me for help, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll take the case Pro Bono.'” Brown said after reading everything in the woman’s jacket, he came to the conclusion that “everything the feds have said is wrong.” He believed the woman was being held in court for no justifiable reason, causing her to miss work, so he moved for her cased to be dismissed.
Among other things, Brown argued, “You have no return on service. This woman’s not even supposed to be here.”
Brown said the judge overruled his request for dismissal, and told him that he was getting out of line; to which he responded: “I’ll get way out of line.”
Brown said that he later learned that his opponent’s nephew was “egging” the judge on the entire time to take Brown into custody, and “jack [him] up.”
“I’m a little hot under the collar,” said Brown. “40 years, I’ve never seen such a circus as they’ve got down there.”
Brown said the juvenile court seems much like a production line, and cannot see how the citizens are being properly served.
When asked if he could change things if elected District Attorney, Brown responded with an emphatic yes. “I saw eight or nine criminal violations down there today. I had no idea it was that bad. People worked for years to get that place straightened out. Now it’s gone back to worse, almost, other than the lack of the use of the N-word in court that I experienced the first time I appeared in court in 1974. About a month and half from now it will be 40 years.”
Brown said he would do what he did all over again, and added that standing up for clients has always been his deepest motivation.
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