Joe Brown (judge)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Judge Joe Brown
Born (1947-07-05) July 5, 1947 (age 73)
Other namesJudge Joe Brown
Alma materUniversity of California, Los
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Deborah Herron

Joseph Blakeney Brown Jr. (born July 5, 1947), known as Judge Joe Brown, is a former American lawyer and television personality. He is a former Shelby County, Tennessee, Criminal Court judge and a former arbiter of the arbitration-based reality court show Judge Joe Brown.

Early years[edit]

Raised in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, Brown graduated as valedictorian at Dorsey High School, then in 1969[1] earned a bachelor's degree in political science and in 1973 a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at UCLA. While attending law school, Brown worked as a substitute teacher. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[2]


Brown became the first African-American prosecutor in the city of Memphis. He would later open his own law practice before becoming a judge on the State Criminal Court of Shelby County, Tennessee.

Brown was thrust into the national spotlight while presiding over James Earl Ray's last appeal of Ray's conviction for the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Brown was removed from the reopened investigation of King's murder due to alleged bias—former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia wrote that Brown told her and the Congressional Black Caucus, unequivocally, that the so-called murder rifle was not the weapon that killed Martin Luther King Jr.[3] It was during this time that Judge Brown caught the attention of the producers of Judge Judy.

In March 2014, Brown won the Democratic primary for the position of Shelby County district attorney.[4] He lost the general election to Republican incumbent Amy Weirich by 65% to 35%, after making comments about her sexuality.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

Judge Joe Brown is twice divorced and has two sons from his first marriage.[7]

In March 2014, Brown was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee, and charged with five counts of contempt of court and getting "verbally abusive" during a child support case overseen by Magistrate Harold Horne. Brown, who retains his law license, was reviewing a child support matter as a favor to an acquaintance. According to press accounts, Brown became combative and irate after Horne refused to discuss details of the case that were not on the schedule. Brown was sentenced to five days in jail,[4][8] but was later released on his own recognizance.[9] Brown surrendered to the Shelby County Sheriff on August 27, 2015 to serve his five-day sentence at the Shelby County Corrections Facility in Memphis.[10] He was released from the Shelby County Corrections Facility the morning of September 1, 2015.[11]


  1. ^ "HuffPost Live". Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Courtroom bios". Archived from the original on August 1, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  3. ^ Cynthia McKinney (18 September 2002). "Goodbye to All That". CounterPunch. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b "TV's Judge Joe Brown Arrested In Tennessee". CBS Local. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Former TV Judge Joe Brown Stumbles In Bid To Become Tennessee District Attorney". The Huffington Post. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  6. ^ Judge Joe Brown uncorks a shocker taunting Weirich about her sexuality - Memphis Flyer - Jackson Baker - July 2, 2014
  7. ^ All About Judge Joe Brown on WCHS-TV8
  8. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (25 March 2014). "Judge Joe Brown: The rant, the mugshot, the jokes". USA Today. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  9. ^ Duke, Alan (25 March 2014). "TV's Judge Joe Brown jailed by real judge after courtroom argument, court says". CNN. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  10. ^ The Commercial Appeal. "TV judge Joe Brown begins 5-day jail term". MCA. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Joe Brown released from jail". 1 September 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.

External links[edit]