Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Judge Shirley says defendant didn't lose custody over unpaid fees.

Former Pearl Youth Court Judge issued the following press release.

Political Games by Mayor and County Youth Court Judge

Thursday, a group issued a press release that contained lies. The child's mother complained in the press release that her contact with a child was prohibited because she was indigent, but she refused to appear in court at the next hearing and never informed me about financial issues. Before a Youth Court Judge allows contact with a child, the judge needs to be satisfied that the parent is taking corrective action and that the child will be safe. I have always been very understanding about financial issues if I have been informed by someone in court, but a judge can't properly assess a financial situation unless informed. The remedy was for the mother to appear in court and she did NOT. The press release also mentioned that the mother was "African-American". Why would the press release mention someone's race except to imply racism? I have always treated everyone fairly regardless of race. In fact, earlier this year a local mentoring group focusing on African-Americans honored me as a "Hero" for my support of the group.

This situation arose because (a) Mayor Jake Windham was NOT initially successful at closing Pearl Youth Court; (b) Jake realized that the Pearl aldermen were aware of the improper motivations of County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome; (c) Jake realized that the Pearl aldermen were aware of some of Tom Broome's failures that affected Pearl; (d) Jake saw this as another shot at closing Pearl Youth Court; (e) Jake wanted to make Tom Broome look good if Tom Broome had an opponent next year; and (f) Jake realized that I refuse to play political games.

An abuse/neglect report made to CPS can be true or can be lies motivated by someone (usually an ex-spouse or other family member) who hates a particular parent. Many times, I heard a CPS worker explain that he/she did not start investigating for days because the policy gave them so many days to investigate. Reports that claim a child is in danger can NOT wait days for an investigation to start because the child may be dead or severely injured by the time the investigation starts. Why do you think DHS was sued and under federal control for several years? In Pearl Youth Court, we implemented a procedure that when an abuse/neglect allegation was made, within one hour of CPS
receiving the allegation, a copy had to be emailed to Pearl police juvenile investigators and the prosecutor rather than relying on state law that lets CPS investigate and then DAYS later inform law enforcement IF CPS believes the allegations. As a result of that policy change and excellent Pearl law enforcement investigations, many criminal child predators have been prosecuted and convicted.

Many times I was informed that CPS (a) did not answer their on-call cell phone or (b) wanted to wait until the next day to appear or (c) took a very long time to appear on the scene after being called. Some CPS workers think that the ultimate decision about a child's safety belongs to CPS. That, however, is wrong because it is the judge's decision which is made more difficult if a CPS worker is not motivated. I ordered that CPS had to immediately respond to a child abuse or neglect scene if CPS was contacted by Pearl law enforcement. That policy irritated some CPS workers and CPS supervisors because Judge Tom Broome did not require such quick response, but as a result of that policy change and excellent Pearl law enforcement investigations, many criminal child predators
have been prosecuted and convicted.

A Youth Court Judge has a duty to protect children even if it means extra time spent by the judge. Pearl has law enforcement officers trained in investigating crimes against a child and crimes allegedly committed by a child. Those officers understand that simply because someone arrives and claims to be related to a child and/ or has custody, those facts need to be verified because often the person is lying and a home walk-through by CPS needs to be completed to ensure that the home is safe for children. That policy irritated some CPS workers and CPS supervisors, but it was necessary to protect children. Previously, County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome ordered that a child be returned to a house in Pearl, but (a) Tom Broome did not ensure that the house was safe; (b) a few
days later, there were complaints about a horrific odor from the house; (c) Pearl police investigated and discovered that the house contained chemicals and several dead animals; (d) Pearl Youth Court Judge John Shirley ordered the child removed and placed in a safe environment; (e) EPA arrived and declared that the house was a health hazard and needed to be torn down; and (f) the house was eventually torn down. Because of Tom Broome's failure to ensure that child's safety, the child was placed in a hazardous house and could have died.

A law enforcement officer ("LEO") does not need to be making custody decisions even if shown a court order because the displayed court order could have been modified. Previously, a local governmental agency in Rankin County (not Pearl) was sued because (a) a parent appeared at a law enforcement agency and showed a court order granting custody and (b) the prosecutor told a LEO to give the child to the parent and (c) the prosecutor failed to check if the displayed court order had been modified by a judge and (d) the court order had in fact been modified by another judge. Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome doesn't prevent CPS or a LEO from making custody
decisions because it is less work for Tom Broome and if a problem does arise, Tom Broome can blame CPS or the LEO.

A Youth Court Judge is authorized to order no contact between a child and the child's parent if the judge is concerned that the child would not be safe because the parent is refusing to take corrective action to prevent future abuse or neglect. One indicator of a parent refusing to take corrective action is when the parent refuses to come to court. Many times, a parent recognizes that parental behavior change is needed to protect a child, but some times a parent is a drug addict or has other negative behaviors (e.g., untreated mental illness, criminal activity, no desire to
change, etc.) and just expects that custody will be returned regardless of the parent appearing before the court and proving positive change.

Unfortunately, Tom Broome is more concerned about patting himself on the back rather than spending appropriate time protecting children. Tom Broome wanted to dissolve the Pearl Youth Court so he could use Pearl's statistics for grants and another judge informed me that he heard Tom Broome tell others that Jake Windham promised to dissolve the Pearl Youth Court if Tom Broome would help Jake get elected. While campaigning, Jake told me that he thought the "dog shooting" charge against his opponent Pearl mayoral candidate Mike Prestage was probably true. I promptly ended the conversation and recognizing that Jake wanted one of his opponents, Mike Prestage, prosecuted to help Jake in the election, I was disgusted and I entered an order recusing myself because I viewed the statement as an attempted improper communication and because I refuse to participate in political prosecutions.

When Jake was elected, Jake tried to convince the Pearl aldermen to dissolve the Pearl Youth Court, but a majority of the aldermen recognized Tom Broome's motivations and failures and refused to dissolve Pearl Youth Court and that angered Mayor Jake Windham because Jake said it would be brought up again.

Mayor Jake Windham is more concerned about rewarding political favors and in ensuring that certain people who expect special treatment are happy: (a) just after he was elected, even though Pearl needed funds for other employees, Jake appointed an assistant prosecutor who has NO criminal law experience but who is the head of the Rankin County Republican Executive Committee; and (b) the new regular prosecutor dismisses adult criminal charges "as a favor" to certain people. I said that justice requires equal treatment for everyone and I will not participate in giving special treatment as a political favor and I refused to dismiss any criminal charges unless the prosecutor signed a form indicating that the prosecutor believed that dismissing the charges would serve "the
ends of justice". (See §99-15-51). It didn't take long before a lot of dismissals were requested.

I resigned because I am tired of the politics of Mayor Jake Windham and Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome and would always wonder when the next back-stabbing by either or both of them would occur.

A major concern is that Mayor Jake Windham's next agenda is to try to dissolve the Pearl Public School District by merging it with the Rankin County School District. Hopefully, a majority of the Pearl aldermen will stop that action even though I am confident that at least one alderman will not oppose that action.


Anonymous said...

Time for Judicial Performance to show its testicular fortitude and come down on this self-indulgent clown.

Anonymous said...

What about the 3 million dollar bond that he imposed for a misdemeanor and the defendant ended up dead in jail?

Anonymous said...

for someone who doesn't play political games, this press release seems to be, uh, political...

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying that I agree that Pearl did not need a youth court, however I think the way Jake went about this was dirty. Shirley is right about Jake's agenda with the school system and his repaying his supporters. Jake did away with Code Enforcement and this was done for the apartment folks who supported him. He hired a second Assistant Chief of Police because this guy was a supporter, remember the city is broke. The lawyer Shirley talked about is correct. Sue Townsend and Butch were major supporters of Jake's. Sue would benefit if the school systems were consolidated as would Jake's wife who works for Sue.

in four months Jake has lost almost one third of his police force. This is less protection for the citizens of Pearl and more opportunity for the criminals from Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Not buying it Judge Shirley. Time for you to resign from your Justice Court position and leave the public scene for good. You've done enough damage already you angry, petty terrible excuse for a public servant. Good riddance.

Kingfish said...

Trying to disband the Pearl school system and merge with Rankin would be suicide for him, especially when Pearl has an A and Rankin has a B. Good luck getting that passed, if the charge is true. If.

Anonymous said...

Pearl is BROKE. I would imagine they are trying to make decisions to save money. I know they had to lay off several fireman and the mayor went to neighboring cities to speak to their mayors about hiring the laid off fireman. I don't know his reasons to go after the youth court and I'm not going to speculate about it. But I imagine a lot of decisions coming out of Pearl have to do with the very serious financial issues they are facing.

Anonymous said...

Appears to me that Shirley, who "doesn't play politics" doesn't like Jake Windham. Or Tom Broom for that matter. But more obvious is that Shirley has a short fuse - anybody who would write that long an explanation as to why he resigned repeating himself throughout, because he got removed from a politically appointed position shouldn't be sitting on the bench. Any bench

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, just what we need in Rankin County. A Hillary Clinton type that won't just go away. So you wanna make sure you give immediate custody to a bonafide family member when your cops drag someone in after finding they have a misdemeanor warrant only because the officer stopped them for not wearing a seat belt? Solution: Put grandma in a line up. I so hope that the former Court Clerk caught embezzling to the tune of $200,000 rolls over on this Judge, as every time that gavel hit the bench and he ordered someone to pay $75 for a seat belt violation instead of the State mandated $25, he was complicit in breaking the law. That's just one example. "Shirley" there are others. Good riddance "Your Honor".

Anonymous said...

The Pearl Youth Court was inefficient at best. As an attorney who represented a few clients in PYC, we had to wait all day to be seen. Time management was not managed well at PYC. People had to take off work for a whole day just to appear at PYC. Not a good way to run a court. While I applaud Judge Shirley’s contributions to the youth court system and its current rules, the Pearl YC was extremely difficult to maneuver through.

Anonymous said...

What's funny is that this entire diatribe is so slanted you can see it, even if you're blind.

Jake has said on many occasions that he has no desire to merge the school districts, and if John Shirley had an ounce of knowledge of how government operates he would know that the STATE LEGISLATURE not the Board of Aldermen would make that decision.

Jake has most recently said (and said during the campaign) that Pearl wouldn't be what it is without a separate school district.

Anonymous said...

WOAH! The Mayor of Pearl's wife works for the RCSD? What does she do there?

Anonymous said...

This reads like a really long Trump diabolical twitter frenzy. Geez Louis, Shirley. For someone who resigned on his own, he sure is dedicating an awful lot of time to this. The world has moved on. You should move on, too. Your ivory tower where you were the god has crumbled. Go wreak havoc on poor folks elsewhere. Hopefully Rankin County will get rid of you, too. This is so slanted and foolish sounding it makes me ashamed as a fellow conservative. Stop it with the 10 second radio sound bites on repeat attempting to rally my toothless cousins off 468. Yes, we love our law enforcement. But, we also value honesty, integrity, fairness, and honor. Go away quietly, and with some dignity and grace. I'm so glad we don't have those problems in my city. Mother Mary wouldn't have put up with two seconds of this mess. Move on, Shirley.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a SHAM. When you point fingers at everyone else then you automatically look guilty.

Anonymous said...

Shirley is a sham.

Terrible judge. Worse human.

He should be investigated by judicial review and appropriate action taken thereafter.

Anonymous said...

The implosion is not over for the Pearl PD. They have let a few some of the good ones get away and kept some that should be gone. Hope they get settled soon. As far as Judge Shirley, the waynit was done is suspect. No complaint after 2 years and all of a sudden.... Seems a little convenient. Yes his wife works there and he and the townsends are close but no merger

Anonymous said...

If everyone is lying on you, Judge, just release the court records so we can see what really happened instead of hiding behind repetitious dog whistle flag words in your "press release" us the records..........oh can't. Whoops.

Anonymous said...

Bless his heart.

Anonymous said...

My aunt worked for DHS. She has been very vocal about how inept Judge Shirley was/is. Probably a good thing PYC is closed.

Anonymous said...

We’ve experienced the wrath of so called (Judge Shirley). In my view he revels in power over others and enjoys making them suffer. I have talked to many attorneys and officers in Rankin county and have found no one that speaks favorably of him. This diatribe just exemplifies and reveals his true colors (no pun intended). It’s everyone else fault always!,

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