With ABC's "Good Morning America" among the flood of media outlets wanting him to give a fuller version of his reaction to being charged and arrested at Shelby County Juvenile Court Monday, Judge Joe Brown called The New Tri State Defender Tuesday morning just a bit after midnight to give his first full explanation of what he charges really spurred the incident.
Brown is running for Shelby County District Attorney in the upcoming Democratic Party Primary, with a one-on-one against incumbent Republican Amy Weirich a likely possibility. Soon after his arrest, the feedback included assertions that a stunt had been orchestrated to boost Brown's campaign.
"This was not a publicity stunt. This was the real Joe Brown in real time and in person," said Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman Bryan Carson. "What this incident has really done has put Juvenile Court on blast to show people how the courts around here operate and how crucial it is for them to step forth and support these candidates. Just watch the facts."
Brown was ordered jailed by Juvenile Court Magistrate Harold "Hal" Horne, who was overseeing the case in which Brown was attempting to represent "a client." He was released on his own recognizance under a judicial order. Brown said his client was being subjected to an "egregious miscarriage of justice."
The Weirich campaign issued a statement painting the incident as one made for Hollywood. "That sort of disrespectful circus stunt may get Hollywood ratings, but this is real life and real people and Joe Brown knows better. He should be ashamed of himself," the statement read.
Responding Tuesday at 12:45 a.m., Brown said, "It was Amy Weirich's nephew, who is a clerk at the court, that instigated me getting arrested. They made a mistake because the tape was released and it clearly shows how they operate outside the law down there.
"The problem is that here in Shelby County we have the only court that does not require a full review by the other judges to sit on the bench, and (Juvenile Court Judge) Curtis (S) Person rubber stamps everything. He hasn't been there in three years and doesn't have the decency to retire due to medical reasons. The Judiciary Committee is reviewing it now."
Person issued this statement:
"Anyone who comes before the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County will be treated fairly, with dignity and with respect. Anyone who acts in a contemptuous manner toward this Court, toward any member of this Court, toward any employee of this Court or toward any visitor of this Court will be dealt with appropriately according to the laws of the State of Tennessee."
Brown said his client's case should never have been scheduled.
"I was there on a pro-bono basis to represent a client that had no reason to be brought before the court. She was there to respond to a charge by someone that she dated 20 years ago claiming that she was the mother of his daughter. In the first place, the child does not exist. There was no birth certificate, no DNA evidence, so it was a defective complaint that was rubber stamped. The law requires that the order must be signed, which it was not, and under Tennessee law it should have been declared null and void and summarily dismissed."
Such occurrences are common, Brown said.
"They have been appointing people to generate fees to be paid to them to represent out-of-state interests. As a convenience to this out-of-state interest they wanted to continue this woman's case another 30 days, which could cause her to lose her job. It should have been dismissed."
Brown asserts that a crucial factor to the issue is the appointed referee's lack of authority.
"He could not order me arrested, only fine me," said Brown. "I didn't get a hearing as required, and to compound it all, once I was (illegally) arrested they couldn't find me in the system to order my release.
"Five judges called in to order it (his release), but they had me filed in the child support category. This case proved exactly what I've been saying about how this court operates outside the letter of the law."