Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Clarion-Ledger FOOD FIGHT!!!

We got us a lawyer going at it with the Clarion-Ledger on the pages of Facebook.  The Clarion-Ledger published this story by reporter Kate Royals last week: 

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?


Here are portions of the case file.


Anonymous said...

Has there even been a C-L article about the dust-up between Judge Weill and the public defender's office - which Jane's Law Blog reported on last week?

Much more newsworthy, I would think, than dragging a $5 bill through the trailer park like this.

Anonymous said...

Tough one here: Believe the lawyer or the C/L reporter? Survey says...


Jane said...

I e mailed the link to the public defender's filing to an editor at the Clarion Ledger before I posted it on my blog.

Anonymous said...

1) Weill/Public Defender story ran today (or I picked up an older C-L and read it at lunch today).

2) Shaving his entire body after being ordered by a judge to produce hair follicles sure seems EXTRAORDINARILY suspicious, as in contempt of court suspicious.

Anonymous said...

You don't know the half of it .....

pittpanther said...

Most black men do not have hair of 1.5 inches, at least not since the 70s when the afro was in style. Where did this requirement come from?

Anonymous said...

The absolute most ridiculous part of Roayls' "journalism" was the suggestion that Gibbons was being punished last year because he shares an attorney with another miscreant who went before Judge Fairly. Are all her other clients being jailed 'unjustly'?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether this Kate Royals chick is related to Tom Royals?

I think she's reasonably intelligent (for an LSU grad, anyway), but she is green as a gourd when it comes to having a good grasp of the facts before rushing to print. She masks her lack of experience and general lack of subject matter knowledge with false hubris and an air of superiority. Bless her heart.

Anonymous said...

3:46 Gates has been doing that for dam near 30 years. If you want legal news, the CL is the last place to read. they are all incompetent and too dumb to learn. Gates is even stupider than he was as a rookie.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the friend of Gobbons had his kids put in jail by Fairley because Fairley fearred what their life would be like if the "father" got custody. He lept them in jail until he could find a safe place for them to live. She didn't mention that part.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure about Jerge Dan but from experience I can say that his brother in Justice Court is a fruit cake.

Revet said...

You have to wonder where the C-L digs up the reporters they hire. Half of them can't even spell.

Anonymous said...

3:46 - Daughter.

Anonymous said...

These shenanigans in Family Court have got to end. It is a complete mockery of the court.

Attorneys play games and shame the profession they practice. The nutjobs calling themselves parents don't really give a shit about the kids who are simply pawns in the child support/custody financial windfall battle.

When the gloves come off like this and someone like Fairly presides, it is the perfect storm for bankrupting the laypersons involved - financially, morally, and familial.

Shame on the practice of law in MS and especially upon the MS Bar. What ever happened to integrity in the practice of law?

Anonymous said...

As a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism--generally recognized as one of the top journalism schools in the country, I have read and re-read the story written by Kate Royals. I find that she has adhered to the highest standards of reporting. She has properly attributed the information and has quoted directly where appropriate. At no point has she interjected her own opinions or feelings. Furthermore her grammar and spelling are correct which is more than I can say about many of the stories in the Clarion-Ledger. You may wonder where the C-L found her. I suspect that they found her after reviewing her resume'. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Millsaps College and holds a Masters Degree from the Manship School of Mass Communications at LSU where she was named the outstanding graduate student in her class.

Blytheville said...

9:44 needs to travel back to Columbia and take a bonehead English class. There are two glaring punctuation errors in HIS post.

Anonymous said...

@March 3, 2015 at 9:44 PM

Thanks Ms. Royals. I wish all your articles contained so much information.

Anonymous said...

All these people taking for Fairly are fools. He's the same guy that stripped a lady of her rights and awarded custody to a SEX OFFENDER then ordered his reporter to not produce a transcript when the mom appealed.

Anonymous said...

I went to high school with Grady and the girlfriend Jen Horner. These two are made for one another and quite frankly are both trash. Feel sorry for the kid and wish the mother luck in keeping him out of the other two lifestyle. Don't know about judge but in this case I would say he got it right.

Anonymous said...

9:44, the critique of Royals was how she behaved in pursuing the story, not how she wrote it up.

But perhaps reading isn't a required subject at Missouri.

Anonymous said...

As a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism--generally recognized as one of the top journalism schools in the country ...

Appeal to Authority. Fallacy.

Anonymous said...

"Gibbons, a former weightlifter who says he shaves regularly.." Hahahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Hair samples are not unreasonable.


Replete With Dark Comedy said...

Hair tests reveal 'historical use' only. You could have gotten stoned outa your gourd yesterday and a hair test would not reveal it. But, are we talking here about shaving the entire body?

I find that hard to believe, but I'm not sure why I find it hard to believe. Surely this asshole had a couple of hairs somewhere.

I also find it hard to believe that a judge can imprison a 'non-defendant' until he grows hair. Who is this stupid S.O.B.?

Anonymous said...

@11:39 -- a logical fallacy, but a perfectly good way of establishing credibility.

Anonymous said...

"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. "

The attorney states she is not supposed to comment. Does the fact that she did not constituent a violation of some sort or law? Can she not be held accountable for posting something of this nature? Disagree with the article wtitten, okay, but to go on a rampage about the person and give details about a situation not in the court document seems to be a little much.

Anonymous said...

"Does the fact that she did not constituent a violation of some sort or law?"

Are you trying to say something here? Why not get a native English speaker to review your posts before you submit them?

Anonymous said...

There's a pseudointellectual fool around here whose thesaurus seems to be missing every page except the one with the word "fallacy".

Maybe he thinks it's "phallacy". After all, he is a penocephalic.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:23 PM ain't no credibility available when the author is anonymous. Period.

Anonymous said...

What's up with this Stubbs character being quoted in every article she writes about Fairly? His rants on the CL comment section seem pretty crazy. Desperate to prove he's right.
Kate seems to be trying to be Jerry Mitchell, but with biased, one sided, few facts as possible, articles.

Anonymous said...

If I recall, Stubbs is the guy who had adopted two teenagers from Ukraine with his ex-wife, and Fairly won't let him have custody and jailed the two boys for refusing to live with mom. Turned into a pseudo-international incident with the Ukranian embassy getting involved.

Anonymous said...

March 3, 2015 at 9:10 PM- BINGO!

These erratic decisions of his not only financially drain the families, but the county as well. His court is a sideshow. If the MS Bar wants to keep this going, they should at least sell popcorn and peanuts inside the courtroom to defray the costs of what his lack of judicial temperament is doing to the county. It is absurd and embarrassing to see a chancellor on the national news fighting with supervisors, violating the rights of children, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think Kate Royals is making a name for herself. She is very clearly an unethical "journalist"' who seems to be trying to expose a scandal that doesn't exist. She is reporting absurd stories- we have a bigamist who tested positive for drugs asked to submit to a hair follicle test who then shaved his entire body and was jailed on contempt of court- it was because he was in contempt of court. Why is that news? She is trying to make a judge look bad by using someone like Grady Gibbons who didn't follow court orders? It appears the judge made the correct decision. I know if I was heading to court and was told I'd need to provide a hair follicle, I wouldn't shave my entire body before going to court. Is Kate Royals seriously expecting that people will be shocked this happened? It should have happened. In addition, if I was trying to break a story, I would try and find a situation where something wrong actually occurred. You will always have disgruntled people in family court. I think most people realize that hearing one side of a story, seemingly from the disgruntled side, is most likely not what actually happened.

Anonymous said...

Sam Hall was hired as Executive Editor after a nationwide search! ROFLMAO

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