Woman jailed for cursing in Berrien County Clerk’s Office

wsbt-woman-jailed-for-cursing-in-berrien-count-001By Rachel Lake

If you’re ever at the Berrien County Courthouse in Niles, you may want to watch your language. One woman’s cursing landed her in jail for contempt of court — even though she wasn’t in a courtroom.

LaRue Ford, 49, of northwest Indiana has a master’s degree and no criminal record. She was in the county clerk’s office inside the courthouse trying to get some traffic fees cleared up. It was a frustrating process…during which she muttered a few profanities. Now she’s sitting in jail.

“This was basically what happens when you try to fix your life out so you’re not a burden to society,” said John Targowski, Ford’s attorney, who’s working with the ACLU on this case.

Ford was trying to get her Indiana driver’s license so she could a job, but first she needed to take care of an unpaid Michigan traffic fine. She paid all $444 of it, but there was a $50 reinstatement fee that the Berrien County Clerk’s Office in Niles overlooked and that led to a lot of confusion.