Woman jailed for cursing to return to courtPublished 1:04pm Monday, January 7, 2013
A woman jailed over Christmas for swearing in a Niles courthouse is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday.
LaRue Ford, 49, spent 11 days in jail after she was overheard swearing in the clerk’s office at the Berrien County South County Courthouse in early December.
Her lawyer, John Targowski, said he would file a motion Tuesday at the south county courthouse to disqualify Judge Dennis Wiley from hearing the case. Wiley charged Ford with contempt Dec. 4. after a courthouse staffer filed a bench warrant saying Ford “used profanity in the clerk’s office.”
Ford couldn’t post bond at a Dec. 18 hearing and spent the next 11 days in jail. Targowski, one of several ACLU lawyers on the case, filed an emergency appeal to the Berrien County Circuit Court in an effort to reduce Ford’s bond or have the case dismissed all together.
Ford’s lawyers argue Ford’s actions that day didn’t meet the test for the charge of contempt of court.
Ford’s bond was reduced Dec. 28, and she was released on bond.
According to Ford’s lawyers, the situation began when Ford went to the south county courthouse to fix an apparent unpaid traffic violation. At some point, Ford became frustrated and cursed as she left the clerk’s office, according to Ford’s lawyers.
Ford’s bond was originally set at 10 percent of $5,000 on Dec. 4.
Judge Wiley raised the bond to the full $5,000 on Dec. 18, according to Ford’s lawyers.