Judge Goes Off On Bad Parents, Woman Flips Out

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Uploaded by RobeProbe.com - Sep 9, 2016
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Durham County, NC - Chaos erupted in a Durham courtroom when a mother...
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Durham County, NC - Chaos erupted in a Durham courtroom when a mother in a child custody dispute began screaming at the judge and deputies struggled to subdue her and family members who joined the fracas. Earlier, the judge said the parents had behaved like “idiots.”

The clash left a deputy with an injured shoulder and three people arrested.

During the Aug. 7 trial at the Durham County Courthouse, RiShawna Morrison claimed that the boy’s father, Collin, abandoned the child. The father said she withheld the 3-year-old boy from him.

Before issuing his custody order, District Court Judge James Hill said: “Now, I’m going to choose my words very carefully. Two parents can come in, act like such idiots, when it’s not about the two of you. I could care less about the two of you.”

Hill continued: “We don’t need to see adults acting like idiots. Did I say the word idiots? It’s not about you; it’s about the baby. What the two of you have done to that little boy is unconscionable. He does not deserve this. He did not ask to be born.”

Hill told Morrison he had no doubt that she withheld the child from her estranged husband, and she shook her head.

“Don’t you be looking at me,” Hill said.

“I have not withheld him,” Morrison said.

“You say one more word and you’re gonna go to the Durham County bed and breakfast today,” Hill said.

Morrison: “Uh-huh.”

Hill then imposed a contempt of court order against Morrison and ordered her to spend 24 hours in jail.  But Morrison continued to talk.

“All right, you got 48 hours now,” Hill said.

Hill then issued a ruling for joint custody, and Morrison got out of her chair.

“Just take me in,” she said. “I can’t do this. This is a disgrace. What you guys are doing...”

“Seventy-two hours,” Hill said.

Morrison: “You can’t just let your son for nine months...”

Hill: “Thirty days.”

Morrison began to scream as a deputy tried to control her. Re-enforcements were called, with nine deputies at one point in the courtroom, and she was removed in handcuffs.

In his report on the scuffle, Deputy T.W. Harcum said that when he tried to remove Morrison from the courtroom, she “began twisting and pulling away from me while yelling at Judge Hill and her husband.”

“Mrs. Morrison’s mother, Gloria Smith Woods, who was sitting in the gallery, suddenly appeared behind me. Mrs. Woods told me to let Mrs. Morrison go. I ordered Ms. Woods to get back. Ms. Woods grabbed my arm attempting to pull me away from her daughter.”

Then, Harcum wrote, Morrison’s brother, Sherrod Alexander Smith, began yelling: “Yo don’t.”

The deputy said Smith came to the front of the courtroom, reached around and began pulling his sister away as his mother did the same.

Smith got his sister loose and tried to take her out of the courtroom, and Harcum tried to place Morrison in custody again.

“I grabbed her from behind and placed her on the ground,” the deputy wrote.

The brother pulled Harcum off his sister, and more deputies arrived.

Harcum told Smith he was under arrest, but he tried to leave the courtroom.

“I grabbed him from behind to place him under arrest. Mr. Smith then turned and pushed me to the ground. I stood up and pointed my Taser at him. Mr. Smith put his hands up in the air and was handcuffed.”

Morrison, Woods and Smith were taken to the magistrate’s office.

Smith was held in contempt for 48 hours and charged with resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer and assault on a government official/employee.

Woods received 48 hours in jail for contempt, and Morrison got 30 days in jail for contempt.

After the incident, Harcum said, he noticed a pain in his shoulder and went to the doctor to have it examined.

Hill declined to comment on the case, citing the state’s code of judicial conduct for judges.

It was unclear if any complaints have been filed in the case with the state’s Judicial Standards Commission, which considers grievances against judges.

Executive Director Chris Heagarty said that because of a 2013 change in the law, the commission can release complaint information only when the North Carolina Supreme Court disciplines a judge.
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