Former daytime TV star Judge Joe Brown was released this week from Shelby County Corrections Center in Memphis after serving five days for contempt of court. Judge Brown spoke to FOX411 about his days’ long stint at the Tennessee based corrections facility, and he didn't have many nice things to say about it. FOX411 did reach out to Shelby County Corrections Center, but they would not provide comment.
FOX411: You were charged with contempt of court when you representing a woman in a bizarre child support case. You got into an argument with a juvenile court magistrate and apparently questioned his ability to manage the courtroom. You were cited as “verbally abusive.” Do you think the alleged crime fit the punishment so-to-speak?
Judge Joe Brown: It’s not a crime. It’s contempt of court. The difference is one of the facts that you have stated is in error. The woman was not there for child support and there was no child, first off. Second thing is, for years and years, they had a judge down there who dropped out of the 8th grade so the State Supreme Court said he could not hear cases so he hired all of these referees and magistrates to do his work for him. He was judge from 1963-2006 and when they replaced him those bad habits kept going on, so the person I was dealing with was a lawyer. Now, I am a judge for the rest of my life, and I can be recalled to sit on other matters when, let’s say, a judge is sick. He keeps the title of referee or magistrate so as long as he keeps the job. He got hired fresh out of law school to do just that in juvenile court. I remember when he came out and I have challenged juvenile court over the years and that started when the first case I took down there more than five decades ago, when the judge called me the “N” word not realizing I was a lawyer instead of somebody on his docket. So, the justice department, and you can check this out by simply Googling Juvenile Court of Shelby County, Tennessee has been under edict for two years and they intend to hold them for three more for a total of five, they have declared that place to be the most racist, bigoted, biased, unfair, prejudiced, and inequitable operation that they have ever investigated, and they note that black litigants, children, black mothers, black fathers are badly mistreated. I saw a woman getting mugged and I stepped in, and basically I won her case for her.
FOX411: You received an outpouring of support from numerous groups including Black Lives Matter, and have said that in Shelby County black lives do not matter. As an African-American man and a judge, do you support another message that’s now gaining momentum in the United States, that all lives matter?
Brown: Here’s what the deal is. In my day and time I’ve found that when you don’t pay attention to everybody, that everybody suffers. If black lives don’t matter people develop some very bad habits and you find that you can be poor and white, Latino, Native American, and it’s bad. I’m also a Native American. So, I’ve got it coming from several different angles, but see, I’m always supporting the American way. This is land of the free and home of the brave, and it’s not just service in the war or in the military that comes into play, it’s the ordinary citizens that are on the streets, at their place of work, at church or wherever they may be who speak up and challenge things that are not right. These institutions exist for us for our benefit, and sometimes when we don’t pay enough attention to them we let people get in charge who mean us no good. That’s why I came out of retirement. There’s going to be “True Verdict with Judge Joe Brown,” fall 2016.
FOX411: You spent five nights in jail. You’ve been very vocal in other interviews saying jail is like quote “slave quarters.” Additionally, you said to another media outlet, that you’re not unlike Nelson Mandela, who was in jail for 27 years. What exactly are the similarities?
Brown: They are. I’m not saying I am him, but it’s the same principle. In other words, when there is a wrong, you have to right it, that is what America is all about, that’s what Mandela was all about, and sometimes when you correct the wrong you run afoul of the way certain other people have been doing the wrong, think things should be done. That was Martin Luther King.