Mississippi Judge Resigns After Barring Mother from Seeing her Baby for 14 Months over Unpaid Court Fees

Pearl's Youth Court judge has resigned and the city's Youth Court has been permanently closed after the judge was accused of prohibiting a mother from contact with her 4-month-old child for 14 months until she paid court-imposed fees. The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law filed a complaint on behalf of their client, calling for Pearl Youth Court Judge John Shirley to be fired. “As a civil rights lawyer in Mississippi, I am no stranger to injustice, but for a judge to prohibit an impoverished mother from having any contact with her baby until monetary payments are made is shocking and repugnant. Such orders are tantamount to judicial kidnapping,” Johnson said. “As a Mississippian with deep roots in this state that I love, I am deeply troubled by the many ways in which poor Mississippians, especially African Americans, are victimized by Mississippi’s legal system,” Johnson said. “We have litigated matters involving excessive bail, illegal jailing of misdemeanor offenders for unpaid fines and the refusal to provide poor criminal defendants with counsel, and now we see that not even the right to raise one’s children is beyond the reach of the injustice that befalls poor Mississippians."

16 Year Old Mississippi Girl Assaulted by Mental Health Facility Staff and Forcibly Injected with Gardasil Vaccine

A lawsuit has been filed this month (July 2017) in a Mississippi district court against Canopy Children’s Solutions, a children's mental health facility in Saucier, Mississippi, for assaulting a 16 year old girl residing at the facility, and physically forcing her to receive the Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine against her wish and the wish of her mother. Upon admission, the 16 year old girl's mother made it clear that she was not consenting to having her daughter vaccinated. She made a point of telling the staff that she was opposed to the HPV vaccine, and especially wanted to avoid that one. 43 days later, her Case Manager, Travys Velez demanded that the 16 year old girl be injected with the Gardasil vaccine. The girl refused, stating that neither she nor her mother consented to the vaccine. Mr. Velez then allegedly threatened the girl, stating that she would not be allowed to see her family that weekend, and that she would be punished if she did not get the vaccine. She physically resisted the staff who forced her into a van to take her to the health department to receive the Gardasil injection. She was allegedly screaming and crying and physically resisting Travys Velez and other staff for more than two hours while trying to avoid being injected with the Gardasil vaccine. She was eventually worn down and transported by van to Harrison County Health Department, where they forcibly injected her with Gardasil 9.