by Jimmie E. Gates, The Clarion-Ledger
Pearl’s Youth Court judge has resigned and the city’s Youth Court has been permanently closed after the judge was accused of prohibiting a mother from contact with her 4-month-old child for 14 months until she paid court-imposed fees.
The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law filed a complaint on behalf of their client, calling for Pearl Youth Court Judge John Shirley to be fired
Center Director Cliff Johnson said Shirley entered an order Aug. 22, 2016, prohibiting the mother from having any contact with her baby until she paid court fees in full. Despite the fact those fees have not been paid, an order was entered on Wednesday reversing Judge Shirley’s earlier decision and returning the child to the mother.
“As a civil rights lawyer in Mississippi, I am no stranger to injustice, but for a judge to prohibit an impoverished mother from having any contact with her baby until monetary payments are made is shocking and repugnant. Such orders are tantamount to judicial kidnapping,” Johnson said.
© 2017 The Clarion Ledger