BENTON HARBOR (WKZO) -- A woman jailed in Berrien County for over a week for swearing is now out of jail, but she is not out of the woods, despite the hope that a new judge would just dismiss the charges.
LaRue Ford of Indiana has posted bond and is now out of the Berrien County Jail after spending ten days locked up on a contempt of court charge. The ACLU is representing, and attorney Miriam Auckerman says there is no reason Ford should have been jailed for allegedly swearing under her breath in the Berrien County District Court clerk's office in Niles earlier this month.
Ford was trying to get a 2004 traffic ticket cleared up in order to get a commercial drivers license and a job in Indiana. While she had paid the ticket, there was a small fee that she hadn't paid and hadn't known about. Judge Dennis Wiley revoked her bond on December 18 and tossed her back in jail.
That bond was reduced from $5,000 to $500 by a new judge, and Ford posted that to be released. Ford has no criminal record and holds a master's degree in social work. She's due back in court on January 8. Ford is accused of saying "f--- this s---" to herself as she was leaving the clerk's office on December 4.
She had recently moved from Arizona to Indiana to be closer to family, and Wiley had revoked her bond because she couldn't prove she had a permanent address in Indiana. Michigan used to have a law dating back to the 1800s making it illegal to swear in front of women and children, but that was ruled unconstitutional by an appeals court in 2002.