TUPELO – A Mooreville woman plans to file a formal complaint against Justice Court Judge Pat Carr with the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance because of remarks she alleges he made Tuesday.
Ashley Jones, 29, was in the Lee County Justice Court as a witness in a misdemeanor assault case against her former husband.
Jones said she was in a car with a friend, who was a convicted felon, in March 2011 when her then-husband stopped the car, smashed one of the car’s windows and then became involved in a fight with Jones.
The misdemeanor assault charges are a result of people calling the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after driving by and witnessing the altercation.
Lee County prosecutor James Moore said Jones was reported to have bruising and a busted lip.
After Jones’ testimony, she alleged Carr said something similar to, “had he been the husband and his wife was riding in the vehicle with a convicted felon he would have done a lot more.”
Jones said, and Moore confirmed, that was when Carr ruled her ex-husband innocent, before Moore had an opportunity to question him.
“I can deal with the ruling, but I can’t deal with a judge, in not so many words, advocating domestic violence,” Jones said.
Jones, who admitted having a prior drug conviction, said the 2011 incident was not the first time she had been a victim of domestic violence, and domestic violence was the reason she wasn’t living with her ex-husband at the time.
“You live in fear and have someone telling (me) that no one will ever love me because I’m a convicted felon and used to be on drugs,” she said. “When I finally took the steps and said I wasn’t going to stand for this anymore, this was the outcome. This sort of thing is why I was scared to come forward in the first place.”
Jones’ godfather, Jeff Burns, was in the courtroom with her for moral support Tuesday and said he didn’t remember Carr’s exact wording but wrote his best recollection down when he got back to his office.
“I remember him saying, ‘I find (the defendant) not guilty and with you being married and having a convicted felon in the car with you, I would have done a lot more than he did,’” Burns said.
Moore confirmed Carr’s comment.
Gary Carnathan represented Jones’ ex-husband and said he didn’t hear Carr make the alleged comment.
Carr has been previously reprimanded by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance in 2003. The official finding said Carr refused to hear testimony from either side or view pictures produced as evidence in a 2001 domestic violence case filed by a Lee County woman against her former husband for the physical abuse of their two minor children.
He was also reprimanded in 2008 for using the influence of his office to interfere in a civil matter.
Carr said he remembers the Jones case but doesn’t remember saying anything specifically due to the high volume of cases he heard Tuesday.
Jones has filed for official paperwork with the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance and expects to submit the complaint today by mail.