Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

March 28, 2014

Judge Joe Brown challenging contempt charges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Joe Brown gained fame by meting out justice as a TV judge. Now he’s the one facing charges.

Brown, the star of the television show “Judge Joe Brown” and present-day political candidate, has a court hearing April 4 in Tennessee on his challenge of contempt of court charges handed down Monday by a Shelby County Juvenile Court magistrate.

Brown, 66, was arrested and sentenced to five days in jail during an outburst in a child support hearing before Juvenile Court Magistrate Judge Harold “Hal” Horne. Brown was later released from jail by a Circuit Court judge who will hear arguments next week about dropping the charges and sentence, Brown’s lawyer said Tuesday.

Brown, whose nationally syndicated TV show was canceled last year, is running in the Democratic primary for district attorney general in Shelby County, Tennessee’s largest county. Some have described Brown’s outburst as a way to gain publicity for his campaign, while others say the magistrate should not have locked up Brown, a former criminal court judge in Memphis.

In an interview aired Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Brown said his actions were not out of line and he would do the same thing again.

Brown said most lawyers would say “that’s what we do every single day.”

During Monday’s Juvenile Court session, Brown said he was representing a woman who appeared before Horne on a paternity warrant, according to Dan Michael, the juvenile court’s chief magistrate.

Horne had set a future hearing for the woman, but Brown was pushing for dismissal of the case.

In audio provided by the Juvenile Court, Brown repeatedly challenged the magistrate’s authority and Horne threatened to find Brown in contempt. Magistrates are appointed by the elected Juvenile Court judge.

Brown continued questioning Horne’s authority with a raised voice, and Horne made good on his threat.

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