Former syndicated TV Judge Joe Brown reportedly surrendered to Memphis law enforcement officials this afternoon and began serving a five-day term behind bars for contempt of court.
In March, 2014, while representing a client in court, Judge Brown challenged the authority of a juvenile court judge, who ordered him arrested for contempt. He was released on his own recognizance later that day, and the case has been pending since then while Brown appealed the sanction all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which ultimately declined to hear the appeal earlier this month.
The judge will serve his sentence at the Shelby County Corrections Center, the Fox News Memphis affiliate explained. Brown is apparently being held in what amounts to solitary confinement to protect him from other inmates, the station added.
Brown was appearing before Magistrate Harold Horne when things went sideways in the incident last year that led to the contempt charge.
In alluding the famous final scene of the movie …And Justice for All, TMZ reported that “Joe was acting as a lawyer in March 2014 — representing someone in a child support case. When he showed up in court and the clerk informed him they had no record of the case, he lost it, screaming Al Pacino style.”
Some observers at the time claimed that the courtroom episode was cooked up as a publicity stunt for Brown’s political campaign to become the Memphis-based Shelby County District Attorney.
The star of Judge Joe Brown, a Democrat, went on to lose the election to incumbent prosecutor Amy Weirich, a Republican, in a landslide, however.
CBS canceled Judge Joe Brown’s self-named television show in 2013 after 17 seasons, apparently owing to a salary dispute in contract negotiations along with declining ratings. Originally from Los Angeles, Brown was a sitting criminal court judge in Memphis when he was discovered by the producers behind Judge Judy.
Ex-Judge Brown, 68, issued the following statement today according to WMC Action 5 News in Memphis.
“I will not apologize for vigorously defending my client and demanding that the court follow the law. What I saw was a miscarriage of justice and I did what needed to be done. I will serve the time and I will continue stand up and speak out for justice as I have done throughout my 40-year legal career. When our courts don’t follow the rule of law, justice is in jeopardy for everyone. Thank you to all of my supporters. Your prayers and well wishes are appreciated.”
In August, 2013, Judge Joe Brown — or someone who closely resembled him and who appeared to have consumed a few adult beverages — was filmed in a Hollywood hotel lobby providing freewheeling commentary on a variety of subjects.
[Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images Entertainment]