MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – Judge Joe Brown was released on his own recognizance Monday after he was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to five days in jail.Brown, 66, was sentenced for reportedly being disorderly in front of a magistrate Monday in juvenile court.
He was representing a woman who was accused of being the mother of an unknown child by someone in Virginia.
In audio from the court proceeding, Brown told the magistrate that according to federal standards the woman had been treated unfairly.
On the audio the magistrate can be heard attempting to set a hearing for a later date; Brown threatens to shut the place down.
The magistrate warned Judge Brown that he was close to finding himself in contempt.
“On what authority do you sit by? As a former judge here,” said Brown to the magistrate. “We have a rule in the 30th judicial district that says every single magistrate referee has to be unanimously approved by every circuit, chancery, and criminal court judge. I don’t recall your name’s ever been submitted, sir. This tribunal on a general sessions court’s authority is insufficient to establish you, therefore I challenge your authority to hear it. By the way, what is that? Magistrate, sir? With due respect.”
The court then claimed Brown in contempt. Initially, he was sentenced to serve one day in jail for each count at 201 Poplar in protective custody apart from the general population. A Tennessee Code on the books since 1970 gives juvenile court judges the right to fine up to $50 and imprison up to ten days.
According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Judge Beasley signed an order releasing Brown Monday evening.
“This is politically motivated,” said Brown when he was released. “[The woman I represented has] been going through this for eight years. There was no date of birth, no names, no birth certificate. She doesn’t know who the devil they’re talking about.”
Brown was Shelby County Criminal Court judge for 10 years before leaving the bench in 2000 to focus on his then 2-year-old nationally syndicated television show, according to Associated Press.
The show was canceled last year.