“Judge” Brown Goes To Jail Over Contemptuous Encounter With Real Judge

082715-celebs-judge-joe-brown-mugshot-e1440765709108Former TV judge Joe Brown, 66, has surrendered to Tennessee deputies to begin serving a five-day jail term for contempt of court. Brown was held in contempt by Magistrate Judge Harold Horne for an outburst in Juvenile Court in March 2014. He took the issue all the way up to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which denied Brown’s application to appeal a Court of Appeals upholding the ruling. Brown called the court a “circus” and a “sorry operation.” Of course real judges do not have producers and set designers. When Horne told him to stop, Brown did not. He gave him a day in jail but Brown continued until he had five days in jail.

I am admittedly not a fan of faux television judges who, in my view, degrade our profession and trivialize the legal process. (here). However, this appears an inevitable conflict between a real and a faux judge. Brown was once a Tennessee judge on the State Criminal Court of Shelby County, Tennessee. He actually presided over James Earl Ray’s last appeal of Ray’s conviction for the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. but was removed for alleged bias (he allegedly told former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and the Congressional Black Caucus that Ray’s rifle was not the murder weapon). What was telling is that it was his removal controversy that reportedly attracted the producers of Judge Judy to Brown as a real possible talent as a faux judge.

In his appeal earlier, Brown said the audio recording of his confrontation with Horne was edited but the Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk insisted that the only edit was inconsequential. In the transcript, Brown is shown objecting on behalf of a woman who had appeared for a child-support hearing but was told that the opposing party was not given notice. While the woman had represented herself pro se, Brown stepped up and demanded that the court decide the case immediately. He then threatened to file a habeas corpus petition and “close this place down” if the woman has to return for another hearing. Horne warned him that he was close to contempt to which Brown responded that Horne did not have authority to hear the case. The appellate court described his delivery as “a condescending manner.” That was enough for Horne who said “Mr. Brown, the Court finds you in contempt.” Brown then offers 10 bucks as the most that he could be fined, but Horne gave him 24 hours in jail. Brown then continues to argue and Horne threatened additional days. Brown was not done. Neither was Horne. After the “circus” comment, Brown was up to three days and he told the court “You can do all you want.” Horne did. He gave him four days. Brown then argued about jurisdiction again and was given five days.

I have criticized Brown, as I have Judge Judy and other entertainment judges, for his demeanor and circus-like treatment of the law. He appears to have forgotten the distinction between real and faux courtrooms when he ran into Horne.

He has now turned himself over to Shelby County deputies.

Here is the appellate opinion: Brown ruling

18 thoughts on ““Judge” Brown Goes To Jail Over Contemptuous Encounter With Real Judge”

  1. Platos Cave

    Your odd injection of race, into a story devoid of any obvious racial bias, is typical of your many comments on here–weird and bizarre. The only race, which is known–with regard to the players involved here–is that of Brown, who happens to be African American. The race of the judge and the woman are unknown, and, also, irrelevant. Trying to inject race, as an element of this story, is just reaching. Continue on.

  2. All of these comments are based on the assumption the WHITE judge was perfectly correct and not abusing the woman’s rights, and behaving like a tyrant when called on it. And assuming the BLACK man’s only motivation to stand up to the judge was he wanted to have sex with the woman who asked him for help. Racism is insidious indeed.

    I read Mr. Turley’s blog because he usually looks in to the facts and legal validity of an incident, didn’t get that this time, I hope the only bias involved was his dislike of TV judges.

  3. A demonstration of contempt for the court is out of order and actionable.

    Impeachment and conviction of judges and courts, up to and including the Supreme Court, is the law of the land; the mandate of the Constitution. The

    Article II, Section 4

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    The People are the Sovereign. The representatives of the Sovereign have been derelict and negligent in prosecuting the juridical branch, in its entirety, for “overreach” and corruption as “High crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    An accelerated process of impeachment must be implemented by the representatives of the Sovereign, the People, who have spent far too much time focusing on awarding benefits of the welfare state to parasites, rather than facilitating the freedom and free enterprise (without governmental interference) of the Sovereign, the People.

    The judicial branch has engaged in corruption and “legislated from the bench” to effect the principles of the Communist Manifesto with impunity, as it voids and nullifies the very binding Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights (original). The ineligibility of Obama, unconstitutional Obamacare, the Fed/Treasury Complex and Lincoln’s “Reign on Terror” (unconstitutionally conducted for the benefit of aliens/citizens of no country without standing) being definitive examples.

    The Ten Commandments were chiseled in stone to abide.

    The very binding Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights (original) were basic truths, written to stand in perpetuity, not to be modified.

    Freedom, Free Enterprise and Self-Reliance with governmental facilitation not governmental obstruction.

  4. @anon: Yeah, it’s “live and let live” so long as it’s a creepy white guy demanding societal approval of his aberrant lifestyle. When the courts approve a black guy having four beautiful young white “wives”, or a butch lesbian having multiple “wives”, or a woman having multiple “husbands”, all, of course, as part of their exercise of religion, haha, then I will believe it is a matter of freedom. But since it is always, and I mean always, entitled white males and their entitled white male lawyers demanding that society approve their sexual perversions, I see it as nothing more than a narcissistic extension of white male privilege. As well as a degradation and trivialization of our legal system. BTW, check your mail box. The State of Oregon has just ordered you to bake five wedding cakes for a polygamous wedding. Hahaha.

  5. There’s a time and a place for everything. There’s also a manner in which one conducts himself, given the setting and the procedure. This isn’t about being a zealous advocate for one’s client; it’s about knowing how to behave in a court of law. Brown, so used to being in front of a camera and conducting his own televised courtroom like a circus, finally f’d with the wrong guy. Why did he go off the rails for this random person, who he just happened to meet in the court that day? My guess is this was a very attractive woman, and this outburst was his misguided attempt at trying to impress her–for various reasons. No, it’s not in the article. Just a hunch.

  6. …”unlike law professors who represent narcissistic men who want multiple “wives” under the guise of “religious freedom.” So says, TinEar.

    Too many Americans — some of them here — with authoritarian streaks. “Live and let live” in the land of the “free”…

    1. anon – I saw a map the other day that breaks the United States into 6 sections. Where I live is part of the Far West where we are primarily libertarians, even if we select a party to vote for. We believe in freedom and the right to rebuild your life. Generally we do not have a problem with ‘sister-wives.’

  7. Follow the links. Read.


    Brown, 68, was observing juvenile court proceedings at the Shelby County Criminal Court in Memphis, Tennessee last March when he was approached by a woman who asked him to take a look at her child support case. He told ABC News at the time that he felt obliged to help her and ended up going before a judge on her behalf.

    Again. Follow the links and read the articles.

  8. Without any information about Brown’s original point, when he volunteered to step up to help a woman who was being told she would have to waste the day and come back again later, it’s hard for me to take such pleasure in the imprisonment of a “faux” judge. I would have hoped to to get Mr. Turley’s honest assessment if the point was valid as far as the court’s rules. If it was valid, I’d say this article has it all wrong, a citizen with legal knowledge stood up to a judge to help a fellow citizen and got jailed?!

  9. Yes, these t.v. judges “degrade our profession and trivialize the legal process,” unlike law professors who represent narcissistic men who want multiple “wives” under the guise of “religious freedom.”

  10. “I am admittedly not a fan of faux television judges who, in my view, degrade our profession and trivialize the legal process.”

    This is would be a sound argument in favor of televising all cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  11. Why was he there in the court in the first place? Did he know the woman?

  12. Judge Joe Brown net worth is $65 Million.

    Brown says he does not regret his actions, and would do the same thing again given the circumstances.
    Based on that comment, maybe Brown is a good fit as a Trump cabinet appointee? Future Press Secretary?

  13. There was a statement in a movie: “How bout you Brown?” I ask the folks in the blog audience to tell us where that came from or what movie.

    The judge in this case should have had the guy removed from the courtroom like Trump did to the procrastinator at the news conference the other night.

    Judge Judy was accused of having sex with a dog back when she was in 9th grade. That needs to be discussed. No sane dog would enjoy that one.

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