Woman Being Jailed In Berrien County For Uttering Profanity At County Clerk’s Office
A woman who recently moved from Arizona to Indiana to be closer to her family has found herself locked up in the Berrien County Jail for swearing while she was at the County Clerk’s Office. LaRue Ford, who has never been in trouble with the law previously (and has a master’s degree in social work), spent the entirety of the holidays in jail because of her potty mouth when she went to the clerk’s office to take care of a speeding ticket.
According to official court records, Ford’s official offense is “profanity in the clerk’s office”. Ford was frustrated, attorney Megan Reynolds (who is working on the case along with other ACLU attorneys) told WOOD-TV8, and said, “f— this s—“. That was taken well by the people in the office.
Attorneys are saying that this is very much the same thing that many of us would do in a frustrating situation, and that Jones basically muttered the profanities to herself. In this case, however, it was overheard by clerks in the office.
But, how did it get to this point? Apparently it started when the woman moved to Indiana in the fall and tried to get a job as a driver. The state of Indiana denied her a commercial driver’s license after they discovered that she had an unpaid ticket in Berrien County. The ticket came from an incident in 2004 where she disobeyed a traffic signal.
Jones paid the fine ($444) back in November, but even after that, the state of Indiana denied her license application. Ford corresponded back and forth with a clerk in Berrien County until they finally figured out what the hold up was; a $50 reinstatement fee that needed to be paid. Ford cussed as she was leaving the clerk’s office on December 4, and was told that she would have to appear before a judge when she returned to pay her $50 reinstatement fee. When she appeared before the judge, she was charged with contempt of court.
Ford was released that day after paying 10% of a $5,000 bond, but had to return to jail on December 18 when the judge revoked her bond.
The ACLU is representing LaRue Ford in this case, and hopes to have it resolved soon.