AGeorgia woman spent her 20th wedding anniversary in jail after being slapped with a perjury charge by a Decatur municipal court judge, who has resigned amid public pressure, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
Judge Lindsay Jones sentenced Shari Hurston Tatum, who appeared in court on November 8, to two days behind bars for what he said were lies about a traffic ticket. Tatum reportedly only served one day. Jones, flanked by controversy over the incident, backpedaled on his decision to stay on the bench and offered his resignation to Decatur Chief Municipal Judge Rhathelia Stroud Wednesday, Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss told the AJC.
Jones came under scrutiny after he played a video of the traffic incident with Tatum during her hearing last week. The footage struck a chord with the judge, who said the woman was guilty of blocking an intersection and of perjury. An embarrassed Tatum, who testified that she cleared the intersection before the light turned red, found herself held in contempt for a minor traffic violation. Tatum’s husband, who was in court with her, couldn’t believe the unexpected turn of events. Jones’ strict sentence sent a clear message, he said.
“This is what he does,” Karl Tatum, the woman’s husband, told WSB-TV. ” If you dispute a ticket in this court, you’re going to jail.”
Vickie Sadler, Tatum’s attorney, referred to Jones’ decision as an exercise in ” judicial abuse.” A “day of reckoning” will come over what Jones’ did in the courtroom, a move that she said can’t “continue to happen.”
The practice of using video and sentencing people to jail time over minor traffic infractions is “not condoned” and is an isolated incident that only happened in Jones’ courtroom, Merriss said. Sadler was expected to request that the citation is wiped from Tatum’s record.