A Rankin County judge being investigated by the Judicial Performance Commission now has another complaint brought against him by a man who says he was wrongfully ordered to jail.
Grady Gibbons of Brandon, who appeared before Chancery Judge Dan Fairly in a divorce case, said Fairly wrongfully accused him of shaving to avoid a court ordered hair follicle test and threw him in solitary confinement in the Rankin County Detention Center, even though he had submitted to another drug test that showed no illegal drug use.
Gibbons, who until November shared joint custody of his 11-year-old son with his ex-wife Tina Jones, appeared before Fairly after he went to pick up his son from school a few days earlier and was told by the principal his ex-wife had appeared with a signed order granting her temporary custody of their boy.
Gibbons' ex-wife, Tina Jones, claimed Gibbons was abusing drugs, and Fairly ordered both Gibbons and Jones to take drug tests.
According to Jones' attorney, this is common practice in Rankin County. When one party alleges drug use, judges in the county order both parties be tested.
On Nov. 18, Gibbons, a former weightlifter who says he shaves regularly, went for a drug screen and submitted to a urine test, which he passed. He was told, however, he did not have the substantial amount of hair for the hair test as ordered by Fairly.
Hair follicle tests require at least 1.5 inches of hair to be performed.
Despite passing the urine test, Fairly at court the next day ordered Gibbons held in contempt and jailed at the Rankin County Detention Center. The order stated Gibbons deliberately "shaved the hair from his body so that no test could be performed" and that "he shall be incarcerated in the Rankin County Jail until such time that his hair grows to a length of 1.5 inches so that he can submit to a hair follicle test and purge himself of his civil contempt."
Fairly is reportedly under scrutiny of the state's judicial oversight committee, the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, for jailing two Ukrainian adopted minors who allegedly told the judge they did not want to live with their mother.
Gibbons and the father in that case, Timothy Stubbs, share the same attorney, Lindsey Hill of Brandon.
Calls to Fairly on Thursday were not immediately returned. The court administrator said Fairly would not return to court until "sometime in March."
Gibbons was taken to the Rankin County Detention Center and put in solitary confinement, where he said he was only released from his small cell for 10 minutes a day, was unable to make a phone call and wasn't given his medication. He is prescribed medicine for his Attention Deficit Disorder and anxiety.
"He was believing I'd shaved to avoid the test," Gibbons said. "And he put me in lockdown … They call it the hole. I've never even been in the principal's office."
Gibbons eventually found another inmate in the general population who put in a call to his attorney, who arranged a drug test using Gibbons' fingernails be done instead. Gibbons passed the test and was released from jail two days later, the day before Thanksgiving.
Gibbons believes Fairly had him jailed because he shares the same attorney as Stubbs, who filed a complaint with the Judicial Performance Commission regarding Fairly's actions in his own custody case.
Hill, Gibbons' and Stubbs' attorney, would not comment when reached on Thursday.
The attorney for Gibbons' ex-wife, Judith Barnett, said she believes Gibbons was purposefully avoiding a hair follicle test.
Barnett said she saw Gibbons shortly after temporary custody was granted to Gibbons' ex-wife and he "looked like a lumberjack," but after the court order "looked like a cancer victim."
The day Fairly ordered Gibbons to jail, he also ordered an additional urine test be done on Gibbons. Gibbons admits that test did show traces of marijuana, despite follow-up tests showing negative results.
Gibbons, who now lives in Petal, explains he was exposed to secondhand smoke while on a trip out West.
"I told my attorney, 'In 10 days I've had my son taken away, I've had my rights taken away, and I've had my freedom taken away,' and she agreed," he said.
That was the "news story". However, attorney Judy Barnett had a few things to say about this story on her FB page. Her comments are reprinted with her permission:
I not supposed to name any names in a blog or venting session about my cases but this one merits a deviation in that rule. Yesterday, Kate Royals with the Clarion Ledger called my office. My secretary told me there was someone on the line about Judge Fairly. I did not know what I was getting into but I definitely want to straighten it out now.
KATE ROYALS WITH THE CLARION LEDGER IS NOT INTERESTED IN THE TRUTH OR THE LEGAL SYSTEM. SHE IS ONLY INTERESTED IN TRYING TO MAKE A NAME FOR HERSELF. She called about a case that Lindsay Hill and I have together in Rankin County. Her client is Grady Gibbons, the imbecile you see pictured in the Clarion Ledger. He is a liar and I proved it to Ms. Royals. Ms. Royals told me, not alleged but told me that Judge Dan Fairly had wrongly imprisoned a man just like the boys from the Ukraine. I stated that he had not.
I explained to Ms. Royals for 30 minutes that Grady Gibbons had his son taken because, among other things, he was living with his girlfriend in Petal while he was still married to his wife in Brandon and taking the minor child out of school for long periods of time without an excuse. Therefore, I got a Temporary Restraining Order and beyond just granting my client temporary custody, it also required drug testing.
Grady Gibbons showed up at MY Office with his girlfriend and a copy of the order. He screamed for about 15 minutes before I could calm him down. I explained he need to go get a hair follicle test before we go back to court like the order told him to and I suggested he get a lawyer. He left. When he came to my office he had a full head of hair, a beard and mustache and hair on his arms. I also had facebook pictures of him being hairy. When he show up for court with a URINE test and not a hair follicle and having shaved his body, the judge found him to be in contempt. The URINE test was positive for amphetamines (he says he has a dr presecription but has refused to produce it or medical records requested by the GAL) and his test was positive for marijuana metabolites, oxycodone metabolites and cocaine metabolites. In other words, a hair test would have shown him positive for these substances. Grady Gibbons showed her a drug test from his nail cuttings that say he was clean. NOT TRUE.
Kate Royals had the test and so do I. I sent her a copy of the test and he was positive for methamphetamine some 4,700 pg. In the story Mr. Gibbons says he was not given his medicine. Then why did he pop positive?
KATE ROYALS YOU ARE TRYING TO KICK A MAN WHEN THEY ARE DOWN. THERE IS NO WRONG DOING HERE EXCEPT ON THE PART OF GRADY GIBBONS AND YOU FOR PERPETRATING LIES AND STIRRING UP TROUBLE WHERE IT DOES NOT BELONG. KEEP YOUR DRAMA IN YOUR HOUSE
Here are portions of the case file.