Judge censured after woman jailed for profanity

Berrien County District Court Judge Dennis Wiley. (Jan. 8, 2013)
Berrien County District Court Judge Dennis Wiley. (Jan. 8, 2013)

NILES, Mich. (WOOD) — A Berrien County judge has been reprimanded after setting a high bond that left a woman who used profanity in a courthouse in jail for 10 days.

The Michigan Supreme Court said Judge Dennis Wiley agreed to the censure for committing misconduct.

In December 2012, LaRue Ford said she cursed under her breath as she left a court clerk’s office. An American Civil Liberties Union attorney told 24 Hour News 8 at the time that Ford said “f*** this s***.” Ford said she was frustrated after getting the runaround trying to clear up an old traffic ticket and a hold on her license.

LaRue Ford. (Jan. 8, 2013)
(LaRue Ford. Jan. 8, 2013)

Though he did not witness her behavior, Wiley issued a warrant for Ford’s arrest on contempt charges.

Ford spent 10 days in the Berrien County Jail, including Christmas. She was released after the ACLU filed an emergency appeal on her behalf and her bond was reduced.

The ACLU said Wiley violated Ford’s free speech rights. The contempt charges were later dropped.

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