Judge Joe Brown Describes His Time In Jail

The former TV personality tells his side of the story and fires back at critics.

ByABC News
March 25, 2014, 2:40 PM

March 25, 2014 -- Judge Joe Brown is making the most of his time in a Memphis jail.

In an interview with ABC News, Brown said that his arrest Monday, which he claimed never should have happened, has "reenergized" him, especially in his run for Shelby County D.A.

"I always used to be a hot shot about protecting people's rights," he said. "I was not happy to have my liberty detained even for 30 seconds. That's precious. It's not about the conditions of incarceration, it's about the loss of liberty."

Brown, 67, explained that the situation was "weird" because initially, he was just at the juvenile court to see how it was operating, as he's done with other courts in the area. However, when a woman approached him and asked him to take a look at her child support case, he said he felt obliged, due to a pledge he'd made to "protect womanhood and promote manhood."

"Then I almost felt nauseated looking at it," he said, adding that he believed the case never should have gone forward. "When I insisted that the woman's charges be dismissed. He started talking about, I'm not an attorney so-and-so. ... I said, 'You know it's wrong. ... You're better than this.'"

Judge Joe Brown Arrested in Memphis

Eventually, Brown was found in contempt of court and sentenced to five days in jail, though the former TV personality insisted that the man presiding over the case was not a judge, but rather a lawyer who did not have the authority to do anything more than fine him. The office of the Shelby County Court Clerk, however, told ABC that the magistrate has the full authority of the court in sentencing.

Dan Michael, chief magistrate of Juvenile Court, said that there is a hearing set for April 4 in criminal court to discuss Brown's case. The former TV judge, he said, disrupted child support cases of individuals, which he called "very serious matters."

"As a result people with real issues were inconvenienced and had to sit in court well into the evening," he said. "This is not Hollywood. This is the real thing and as an officer of the court he should have known better."

Brown insisted, however, that he never should have been in jail, much less for five hours. However, it does not seem that his time there was all that bad.

"I shook hands and took pictures with all of the staff down there, the deputy jailers and shook hands with inmates," he said, adding that he did not make a phone call because he does not have many phone numbers memorized. "They had me in jail detention assignment down on the first floor. They were getting ready to take me upstairs [to a cell] and I said, 'Oh no you're not! Because you put your sheriff in complicity for what I might do to sue you and it's getting doubled if I go up there."

Judge Joe Brown Released From Jail

Brown added that when he was let out, instead of being given his cash back, he was given a check that would clear in 10 days. He also said that while he was offered food, he was advised not to eat it.

"They said because the food was now privatized. They've had to take too many people to the hospital for food poisoning," he explained. Brown did not say who advised him to not eat the food.

And while the former TV judge is running for political office, he laughs off criticisms that his arrest was a publicity stunt.

"If it was a stunt, I am a master at doing it. I just happened to by chance run into a woman in need. That's one hell of a thing to be able to pull off," he said. "Considering my ratings and the fact that I've been coming into the homes of just about everybody with a TV set in Shelby County for about 15 years, what was there to promote? Everybody knows who I am."

For more from Judge Joe Brown, tune in tomorrow to "Good Morning America," for his exclusive TV interview.