‘ You do know you are going down a wrong path?’

‘ You do know you are going down a wrong path?’

Judge Thorne tries to set wayward defendants straight


“When I go in that phone booth and put this robe on I make all the decisions in this court. I can set his bond at $20,000 or $120,000. If you want me to show you some respect, you don’t need to answer my questions with ‘yep’ or ‘naw.’ Just letting you know at the beginning,” Judge Fred Thorne told the galley in West Memphis Municipal Court last week.

A man in jail was asked, “How do you plead to DWI?”


“Refusal to take the test?”


“Go see the DWI lady.

You have had a lot of charges.”

A man in jail was told, “You were back at Southland after they told you not to be there. How do you plead to criminal trespass?” “Guilty.”

“You gave them a credit card to pay for your meal?” “Yes I did and it wasn’t any good. It had been over a year since I had been there and I thought it was okay for me to go there.”

“10 days jail. You won’t be going back there for a while.”

A man in jail was charged with theft and public intoxication. He pled guilty to both charges.

“You were in Big Star East and stole a $1.67 Bud Lite? What do you do for a living?”


“Do you get a check?”


“Go talk to the public defender.”

A man charged with domestic battery pled not guilty.

“This is one of the most serious charges I hear. This and animal cruelty. Give me a trial date.”

“December 19th at 1:30 p.m.,” said the clerk.

“Be back here on that date if you make your bond.”

A man in jail was charged with public intoxication and pled guilty.

“You like to drink don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You registered a .23. That is two times the legal limit.”

“I was going to the 8th Street Mission but they wouldn’t take me and the police picked me up on the street.”

“I will call and see if the mission will take you.”

“They won’t. I’m on the registry. That’s why they won’t take me.”

“$250 plus court costs.”

A woman was charged with disregarding a traffic device and failure to appear. She pled no contest to both charges.

“What would you like to tell me?”

“Well, I honestly forgot my court date.”

“You have forgotten your court date other times, too.

You don’t really care. $65 plus court costs on the traffic device. $250 plus court costs on the failure to appear.”

A man was asked, “How do you plead to loitering?”


“You were looking in cars at the Health and Rehab.”

“I was just walking by.”

“Several members of the staff identified you. 20

Judge Fred Thorne days jail.”

“Come on up, Jerry. We are on a first name basis,” said Judge Thorne. “Since I put you in jail you didn’t appear on a warrant for failure to comply.”

“I was in jail the whole time.”

“You do know you are going down a wrong path?”


“I will rescind the warrant for failure to comply because you were in jail.”

A man in the courtroom was there for a review.

“How is he doing?”

“Good. He has been on a month,” said Mr. Brown of the Justice Network.

“I want you here again for another review on December 30th.”

A man in jail was charged with no driver’s license, no insurance and reckless driving. He pled no contest to all charges.

“Do you have anyone here for you?”


“$75 plus court costs on the driver’s license. $350 plus court costs on the insurance. And $100 plus court costs on the reckless driving.”

“Can I get my phone so I can get the numbers to call someone?”

“Jail, let him get the numbers out of his phone.”

A young man charged with no tags and no insurance pled not guilty.

“When you come back for trial DO NOT wear those pants with holes in them.

What are you doing with your life?”

“I am a college student.”

“They have college courses in the jail.”

A woman in the courtroom

was late.

“Why were you late?”

“I got lost.”

“That’s okay, we found you right here. Have a seat.

I’ll call you up later.”

A man in the courtroom was charged with speeding and driving on suspended.

He pled guilty.

“How fast were you going?”

“10 miles over.”

“Did you know your license was suspended?”

“I been trying to get it back.”

“If I knew my license was suspended I wouldn’t be speeding! $295 plus court costs and two days house arrest or do you want to do two days jail?”


“Are any of you people in here hunters? Dove hunters? Do you know what it means to be hunting over a baited field. Well…

when you are at the dog track there are police all over the place. It is just like hunting over a baited field for them when you mess up.”

A woman was charged with driving on suspended.

“How do you plead?”

“No contest.”

“Your driving record is terrible. This is terrible.

$375 plus court costs and four days house arrest.”

A woman produced an insurance

card that was in effect

after the accident. A friend stood up.

“That is my car and I did have insurance.”

“Where is your card?”

“In the car.”

“Go get it.”

To the first lady, Judge Thorne said, “I’m holding you hostage till she comes back.”

“I’m not going anywhere!” said the woman.

A man charged with no tags pled no contest.

“How long were the tags out?”

“When I first bought my truck, my girlfriend poured sugar in the tank. It hasn’t been driven in a long time.”

“Is that your girlfriend with you?”

“No, that is my mother.”

“She looks younger than you!”

“You are swelling her heard.”

“$25 plus court costs.”

A man called up was asked, “How old are you?”


“What do you plead to no proof of insurance?”

The man just stood there.

He couldn’t or wouldn’t answer questions.

“Go talk to the public defender. Stay late anyway – you were late getting here.” A woman charged with careless driving, driving on suspended and no insurance asked the judge if she could have two weeks to get an attorney.

“You come in here with holes in your pants! What year are you at college?”


“What kind of grades do you get?”

“I have a 3.6.”

“Whose car was it?”

“My car.”

“This is kind of crazy. Do you have a parent with you?”

“Yes, my mom.”

The mother came forward. “She has holes in her pants and you are chewing gum. Have a seat. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with you.”

By the Evening Times News Staff