TV Judge Joe Brown says he was defending the rights of his client when he lashed out at a Memphis judge over a year ago. But now, that little outburst has earned him five days in jail, which he started serving Thursday.
Brown turned himself in Wednesday to serve his brief sentence. Before he began his stint, a reporter from Nashville station WSMV asked for a couple last words.
Joe said, “Black lives matter.”
“You are used to judging. How does it feel for you to be judged? You might have asked Mandela, Martin Luther King, Reverend Lowery, Stokely Carmichael,” he said. “You might ask people that just got arrested in Ferguson what it’s all about. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do and stand up for justice.”
The episode that landed the TV star in the slammer in the first place essentially boils down to a little spat between judges over the representation of a client. According to Entertainment Tonight, Brown, 68, was in juvenile court last spring in Memphis — Joe was acting as a lawyer at the time — when a woman asked him to help her with a child support case. So he did.
“When I insisted that the woman’s charges be dismissed, he started talking about, I’m not an attorney so-and-so. I said, ‘You know it’s wrong… You’re better than this.'”
The presiding judge, Harold Horne, ruled that Joe was in contempt and ordered him to a day in jail. Brown responded with some less-than-polite words, directed at staff. Then Joe ignored Horne’s demand to cool it. Fox News quoted the exchange, derived from an audio recording of the proceedings.
“Excuse me, on what authority do you sit, by the way?” Brown asked. “This tribunal on a General Sessions Court’s authority is insufficient to establish you. Therefore, I challenge your authority to hear it… This is a circus, sir.”
Well, the judge didn’t care for that and upped the one day sentence to five. Since then, Joe’s fought to appeal the sentence, but the Tennessee Supreme Court wasn’t interested. So, the TV star is going to spend a week behind bars.
Judge Brown, who also served as a prosecutor in Tennessee and a criminal judge, issued a statement before his march off to jail, according to WSMV.
“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.”
[Photo Courtesy Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]