December 28, 2012

Woman in Michigan had Her $5000 Bond Revoked and has Been in Jail for Eight Days, Including Christmas for Saying "F*** this S***" in Clerk's Office

LaRue Ford, who has no criminal record, had hoped to spend Christmas with family in Chicago. Instead, she spent the holiday in theBerrien County Jail. 

She is still locked up there, has been for eight days. 

Her offense, according to court records: "profanity in the clerk's office." 

"She said, 'f--- this s---,'" said attorney Megan Reynolds, who is working on her case with several other
ACLU attorneys. 

ACLU attorneys, who are fighting for her freedom, compare it to a customer's frustration after a long wait at the Secretary of State's office, or in the return line at the mall. 

"Like any of us who've had frustrating experiences in a bureaucratic environment, she essentially muttered a swear word to herself," Reynolds said. 

But in this case, the attorneys say, it was in the clerk's office at Berrien District Court in Niles, and it 
was overheard by clerks. 

"Judges are supposed to follow the law," said John Targowski, an attorney also working on the case. "We don't necessarily think that happened here." 

"If we put in jail every rude person on this earth, or in this county, or in this state, where do the criminals go?" 

The attorneys say it started after the 49-year-old woman moved from Arizona to Indiana this fall to get a 
job as a driver. 

"This is a woman who is a professional, has a master's degree in social work," Reynolds said. "She moved back to this area so she could be closer to her family." 

But Indiana denied her commercial driver's license after finding an unpaid traffic fine in Berrien County. 
Secretary of State records show it stemmed from a 2004 ticket for disobeying a traffic signal. 

But even after she paid the $444 fine in November 2012, Indiana kept denying her license, Reynolds said. 

The attorneys say that after Ford went back and forth with court clerks in Niles, a supervisor there finally discovered the mistake: a $50 reinstatement fee she needed to pay. 

Ford cussed as she was leaving the clerk's office on Dec. 4, the attorneys say, and was told to appear 
before the judge when she returned with the $50. 

She was charged with contempt before District Judge Dennis Wiley. 

"Imagine that, at your job, if somebody mouths off to you, you get to go to your boss and that person 
immediately gets to go into custody and spend the holidays in jail then and there?" Targowski said. 

"If she was on the record, in the courtroom, and told the judge, F-off, or F-this-S, then we wouldn't be here, but that didn't happen," Targowski added. 

LaRue was released the same day after posting 10% of a $5,000 bond. 

However, she's been in jail since Dec. 18 after the judge revoked the bond. 

Her attorneys say it's because she doesn't have a permanent address yet in Indiana. They say her family is having trouble posting the bond. 

"She very much expected to be with her family during the holidays," Reynolds said. 

A clerk at the court said that the judge and her supervisor, Carol Brohman, refused to comment.

1 comment:

  1. Best justice money can buy. This is ridiculous, and after we're finally hit with the all out economic collapse, I would NOT want to be in any part of law enforcement. (MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)