Judge gets Benched!

Pearl Youth Court is closed for business.

John Shirley

The City of Pearl’s Youth Court judge, John Shirley, has resigned and Pearl’s Youth Court has been permanently closed. The abrupt closure comes after a complaint was lodged accusing the judge of entering a No Contact Order against a mother from contacting her 4-month-old child until she paid court-imposed fines and this continued for a period of 14-months.

According to The Clarion Ledger, an order was entered on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, reversing Judge Shirley’s earlier decision and returning the child to the moth

 “Judge Shirley said Thursday he couldn’t specifically discuss the woman’s case, but said, whenever he issued a no-contact order, it was due to abuse or neglect of a child that hadn’t been corrected. Also, Shirley said he resigned his Pearl Youth Court judge position because of dispute with the city’s mayor.” Id.

” ‘I didn’t resign because of any pressure,’ ” Shirley said. ” ‘I resigned because I got tired of the policies in that administration.’ “

Judge Shirley was no stranger to criticism, though that is not too uncommon for Judges that rule on matters involving Family Law and Custody.  While his resignation was abrupt and the closure of the Youth Court a surprise, to many it was a welcome surprise.

The Rankin County Youth Court in Pelahatchie is hearing the Pearl Youth Court matters that are pending.

Matthew Thompson is a family law and child custody attorney in Mississippi and previously practiced in Pearl Youth Court. 

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