‘ Sir, you can’t just pitch a tent anywere’

‘ Sir, you can’t just pitch a tent anywere’

Judge Thorne explains that West Memphis isn’s a campsite


“How is it that you worked out a deal without me?” asked Judge Fred Thorne of West Memphis District Court. “You and a woman at the shelter worked it out that you should do your community service at Marion?”

“I did four hours.”

“He did eight hours total,” said a representative from the animal shelter.

“He had charges of no driver’s license, careless driving, fictitious tags, resisting arrest,” said the court clerk. “And a bad attitude,” she added. “You gave him 30 days jail reduced to three months probation.”

“He is on probation for three months probation and I have been seeing him,” said Mr. Brown of the Justice Network.

“He had a $165 fine plus court costs and he paid $100 down but he never came back to pay on the rest of his fine,” said the clerk.

“Who do you live with?”

“My grandma.”

“Are your parents deceased?” asked the judge.


“His father signed for him.”

“I thought you said your parents were deceased?”

“My mother is.”

“Where is your father today?”

“He is not here.”

“Be back here for a review in September. I want to see how you are doing. And your attitude is much better this time. I appreciate that! Mr. Coleman, is his attitude better?”

“It sure is!” said the court attorney.

A man was in jail on a felony charge of breaking and entering and aggravated assault.

“Do you have the means to hire an attorney?”

“No, sir I don’t.”

“Where do you live?”

“With my girlfriend and sometimes with my mom.”

“Do you have a job?”

“Not right now.”

“I’m surprised your girlfriend puts up with you not having a job. Where is she now?”

“She got locked up with me yesterday.”

“She must have bonded out. Go talk to the public defender.”

A woman charged with schedule 1 or 2 possession was asked, “Do you have the means to hire an attorney?”

“No, sir I don’t.”

“Where do you live?”

“Senatobia, Mississippi.”

“What were you doing in West Memphis?”

“Meeting a friend. We were going to Albuquerque.”

“He was a truck driver?”

“Yes. He is an old friend.”

“See the public defender.”

“My boss is in jail, too.”

“Did he come over with you?”

“Yes. My mom is in Albuquerque. I’m going back home where she is.”

“Well you will have a little delay.”

A man and a woman in jail came forward when their names were called. They were charged with theft by receiving.

“Are you married?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Are you from Mississippi?”


“Do you have kids.”


“Who is taking care of them?”

“My parents,” said the woman.

“Do you have a job?”

The man made a mumbling sound. The woman answered. “No sir.” “Ma’am, you are very nice. Sir, you are not nice. Maybe I will set her bail at $5,000 and yours at $100,000.”

The man spoke up and said, “Yes sir!”

“Is this where they were in a stolen vehicle and went to Walmart and stole some merchandise?”

“Yes,” said the court attorney.

“Both of you go talk to the public defender.”

A man in jail was charged with loitering.

“How do you plead to loitering?”

The man started talking, not entering a plea, and went on to tell some long story.

“Why were you in the bathroom talking to yourself?”

He did not answer.

“Jail, he will have to be evaluated. Didn’t I let him out of jail last Friday?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And he is back again? I can’t just let him out without someone to pick him up. Have him evaluated.”

A man in jail was charged with resisting arrest and pled no contest. To his charge of disorderly conduct he pled guilty.

“The police were called to Petro and were told you were beating up a woman and was trying to get her into your truck. They had to call in additional units. You were cursing the officers. Who is this woman?”

“My fiancé. It was all a misunderstanding. I couldn’t believe it when he said I was under arrest.”

“A misunderstanding is when you don’t drop a load at the wrong place — not when the officer arrests you. $500 plus court costs. Jail, he has to pay it in full to get out of jail.”

A man in jail charged with assault on a family member pled no contest.

“The report says you had a woman pinned down and wouldn’t let her out of the house and that you broke a window in the home.”

“I was knocking on the door for her to let me get my work clothes and she wouldn’t let me in to get them.”

“$400 plus court costs and 30 days jail.”

“I need to work.”

“You can appeal my decision.”

Another man in jail was charged with criminal trespass and pled no contest.

“You were living in a tent?”

“Yes. On the service road across from Mid-Continent. I didn’t have anywhere else to stay. I’m trying to get toward Little Rock to see the doctors there.”

“Jail, let him out at noon. Sir, you can’t just pitch a tent anywere.”

A man in the courtroom was charged with criminal trespass and pled no contest.

“I just got back here and I was at home when the police picked me up. I didn’t know I was banned from the apartments.”

“I will dismiss this but you have been told by me that you are banned and now you know you can’t go back there.”

A young woman in the courtroom was asked if she had completed her community service. “Yes, sir. I did 10 hours.”

“Where is your mother?”

“In the car with my younger sister.”

“Where are you going to school?”

“West Memphis.”

“Are you on the volleyball team?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Are you going to beat Marion this year?”

“Yes, sir!.”

“If you get another ticket, you are going to jail for two days.”

Judge Fred Thorne

By the Evening Times News Staff