Judge Joe Brown is opening up about his arrest Monday for contempt of court and defending himself against allegations that he disrupted proceedings at the Shelby County Criminal Court in Memphis, TN.
"I always used to be a hot shot about protecting people's rights," Brown, 67, told ABC News
in an interview Tuesday. "I was not happy to have my liberty detained even for 30 seconds. That's precious. It's not about the conditions of incarceration, it's about the loss of liberty."
The former TV judge explained that he was actually just observing at the juvenile court after concluding other business in the building when he was approached by a woman who asked him to take a look at her child support case. He said he felt obliged to help her and ended up going before a judge on her behalf.
"When I insisted that the woman's charges be dismissed. He started talking about, I'm not an attorney so-and-so. ... I said, 'You know it's wrong. ... You're better than this.'" Brown -- who was found in contempt and initially sentenced to five days in jail -- claimed to ABC that the man presiding over the case was not a judge, but rather a lawyer who did not have the authority to do anything more than fine him. The office of the Shelby County Court Clerk, however, told the network that the magistrate has the full authority of the court in sentencing.
Brown was released Tuesday night on his own recognizance and a hearing in the case is scheduled for April 4. CBS canceled Brown's court show last year after 15 years on the air. He is a former Shelby County Criminal Court judge and is currently running for the office of Shelby County District Attorney against Amy Weirich.
Brown -- who still insists that he never should have been in jailed in the first place -- said his brief stay in lockup wasn't all that bad. "I shook hands and took pictures with all of the staff down there, the deputy jailers and shook hands with inmates." He added that he did not make a phone call because he doesn't have many phone numbers memorized.
For more of Brown's ABC News interview, tune in to Good Morning America Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. on ABC.